Friday, August 19, 2022

2022.08.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 22:16–17

Read Exodus 22:16–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the man in Exodus 22:16 begin by doing? To whom? What do they end up doing? What must he pay? As what must he receive her? What may the father still do (Exodus 22:17)? What shall the man do anyway? 

How did God’s civil law for Israel emphasize the importance of keeping the seventh commandment? Exodus 22:16–17 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God absolutely forbids sexual intercourse outside of marriage. 

The couple in question in these verses is “in love.” This is not a rape situation, in which the man would be executed (cf. Deuteronomy 22:25–27). And if one of them were even betrothed to another, it would be adultery punishable by death (cf. Deuteronomy 22:23–24).

No, the word translated “entices” means that he has persuaded or seduced her. She is a willing participant. Though it is gentler than they deserve that they do not die, the risk for both is great. 

First, they immediately lose all opportunity to consider or marry another. The best that they can hope for is that the father of the woman will be willing to give her in marriage. But the bride-price must still be paid, and now without preparation; no advantage is gained.

Second, it may be that the father refuses to give her. In this case, the man still loses the money. And now they have both lost all opportunity for marriage, as they are damaged goods and to marry one of them would be to commit adultery. 

In this second case, also, Israel is spared from having this man and woman propagating. If a child is born, he becomes a member not of the household of the man and the woman, but rather of her father and his wife. If no child is born, then neither of them will have children. Their lines will end with them. It is a death sentence, albeit not immediately carried out.

How seriously the Lord takes sexual purity! And yet very many in our society, and even in the churches are quite unserious about it. We have become lovers of death and the destruction of households, churches, and nations. Many who would oppose the lying together in the middle of Exodus 22:16 yet dabble in and even promote, among the unbetrothed, the romantic attachments from the beginning of the verse. They accommodate in the heart what God abominates in the action.

May God grant unto us repentance from this sin, and faith in Jesus Christ, Whose blood is rich enough to atone even for this! And from Him, may we then receive life and love for God that makes us to love true life as He Himself has designed it.

What are some ways that our culture shows that it does not take sexual purity seriously? What are some ways that believers indulge in the heart the same sort of romantic attachments among the unmarried that results in the sin committed in this passage?

Sample prayer: Lord, forgive us for whatever ways we are falling short in protecting purity of heart and body for marriage and the marriage bed. Grant unto us to honor the marriage bed and to value sexual purity as You do. And restore our nation and churches and families to a place where this is the rule, rather than the exception, we pray through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments

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