Marriage Laws: Ancient Israel vs. Modern America
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 22:13-25:19
My selection: Deuteronomy 22:13-30
While there are (to me) many apparent inequities in this section, the laws here highlight the importance of sexual purity before marriage, the legal status of a betrothal or engagement, and the permanency of marriage. What a stark contrast to the practices of western culture in the 21st Century! The media and pop culture depicts casual sex with no consequences. The dating scene has created categories of commitment like: being “in a relationship,” living together unmarried, engaged but living together, etc. There is no bright line between single, engaged, and married. All of this is blurred to our confusion. People hurt and are hurt.
1. Value and protect your virginity and that of those you love. Being able to give yourself to one person for a life time is a wonderful, God-honoring thing. Sexual experience before marriage is, not only NOT helpful it is, sinful.
2. Have clear lines between friendship, engagement, and marriage. Do not allow a blurring of the lines so that one or both of the people involved are not sure where they stand. Parental involvement is essential. An engagement is not marriage, but it should be entered into with the same seriousness as marriage.
3. Never get married if you consider a divorce a likely, attractive, or, even, possible option. Marriage is for adults but in the best of cases both are sinners who will need to work at growing in love, patience, and commitment. A good marriage is not achieved in days, weeks, months or years but in decades of struggle, forgiveness, and unshakeable commitment.
4. When you have failed in one or many ways to be perfect, remember the gospel: good news of forgiveness, cleansing, and renewal in Jesus Christ. Apply it to yourself and to your spouse. A spiritual life centered around the true and living God of the Bible is crucial for lifelong endurance of the joys and trials in a marriage relationship.
Tomorrow’s reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-28:14