John Bever: Have you unwittingly fallen into this deceptive form of adultery?

Justin returns home from work one evening to find his wife Angela beautifully dressed. He thinks she has something special planned for them and asks if he should dress up too

Angela answers a little shyly, “Oh dear, I have an appointment with Tony today. We will have dinner, go to the cinema and stay at the Fairmont Hotel. I should be back by morning.”

“Who’s Tony?” Justin asks.

“He was my boyfriend in high school,” she replies.

“What? You can’t go with him!”

“Why not?”

“Because we are married; we are committed to each other. We don’t date other people!” he replies, saying that he thinks it should be obvious.

“Wait, honey!” Angela answers. “You are my love. I love you more than any of my ex-boyfriends, but you can’t expect me to never see them again. I have been close to some of them for several years, still love them and want to enjoy being with them. What’s wrong with that?”

Obviously, it’s not a real couple. We can’t imagine anyone not realizing that marriage means an exclusive relationship. Of course, none of us would marry a woman like Angela who expects to keep in touch with ex-boyfriends.

However, many of us perceive our relationship with Jesus as such.

Throughout Scripture, God compares our relationship with Him to that of marriage. In the same way, God talks about His relationship with Israel in the Old Testament. Interestingly, every time God tells Israel through the prophets that they have committed adultery against Him, it is about idolatry.

We may think of idolatry as worshiping images, but its essence is worship and reverence. God defines praise for the first time in Scripture in the story of Abraham and Isaac. Here we see that worship is obedience.

Worship is not some slow beautiful song, it is obedience. No matter what we “perform” in church, if we are not obedient to God in our daily lives, we are not worshiping Him and are essentially living in the same adultery as Angela.

How does this understanding of praise change your view of the Christian life?

“…the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” (Hosea 1:2)

“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:1-5)

Posted by John Bever


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