Briefing: What was your first thought when you read the word “adultery”?
Dispatch (Assignment): Write down your own definition of adultery. When you have your thoughts on paper, look up the definition of adultery and compare it to yours.
On the Street: There are two types of adultery that we need to consider. There is the physical act of adultery and the spiritual act of adultery.
When I started with Dallas PD I was young, naive, and a newlywed. I did not have enough seniority to get my own beat so I found myself riding shotgun with more senior officers. I was always shocked to find that several officers had both a wife and a steady “girlfriend”. Luckily, I was not bold enough to be so stupid. Truth be known, it was not self-control that prevented me from adultery, it was God’s grace and my fear of the Lord (and fear of my wife). God blessed me by not allowing me to be found in a place where I was tempted by an adulterous (Folly) woman.
If you have been, or currently are in an illicit relationship there is hope. God is merciful and full of grace. You have to start with repentance.
We all know that the physical act of adultery is wrong. We know that there is an adulteress cancer in this profession and this world that destroys families. Although this is important, I want to focus this study on spiritual adultery. Proverbs speaks of two women. The Folly woman and the female personification of wisdom are contrasted in the first few chapters. The good, righteous, wise woman called wisdom and the evil, misleading mistress called the Folly woman.
Ms. Wisdom points to a life of disciple and righteousness that glorifies God. Ms. Folly leads to a life of undisciplined chaos that mocks God. We have to choose which one of the two we will align ourselves with.
“My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life. They will protect you from an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a stranger. Don’t lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes. For a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread, but an adulteress goes after a precious life. Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on burning coals without scorching his feet? So it is with the one who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People don’t despise the thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry. Still, if caught, he must pay seven times as much; he must give up all the wealth in his house. The one who commits adultery lacks sense; whoever does so destroys himself. He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed. For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not be appeased by anything or be persuaded by lavish gifts.” Proverbs 6:20-35 (HCSB)
What is the difference between prostitution and adultery?
Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband. (Webster’s dictionary)
Prostitution: the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money. (Webster’s dictionary)
Jealousy: God created us. We belong to Him. He rightfully deserves our worship. When we pay Him no attention and give all of our attention, time and energy to something other than Him, it is cause for jealousy. In the definition of adultery, intimacy between someone who belongs to another and a third party is unacceptable. God is a jealous God, Exodus 20:5, 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, 6:15, Joshua 24:19.
There is application for physical adultery and spiritual adultery. The first read of Proverbs 6:20-35 looks to be all about physical adultery. If you go back and reread it thinking how God must feel when we, His bride, ignore Him, do not pray to Him, and do not glorify Him, it takes on a whole new meaning.
“My son, obey my words, and treasure my commands. Keep my commands and live; protect my teachings as the pupil of your eye. Tie them to your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your relative. She will keep you from a forbidden woman, a stranger with her flattering talk. At the window of my house I looked through my lattice. I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. A woman came to meet him dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda. She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner. She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, “I’ve made fellowship offerings; today I’ve fulfilled my vows. So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I’ve found you. I’ve spread coverings on my bed, richly colored linen from Egypt. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let’s feast on each other’s love! My husband isn’t home; he went on a long journey. He took a bag of money with him and will come home at the time of the full moon.” She seduces him with her persistent pleading; she lures with her flattering talk. He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap until an arrow pierces its liver, like a bird darting into a snare, he doesn’t know it will cost him his life. Now, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth. Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths. For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 7:1-27 (HCSB)
Proverbs 9:13-18 (HCSB), “The woman Folly is rowdy; she is gullible and knows nothing. She sits by the doorway of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling to those who pass by, who go straight ahead on their paths: “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” To the one who lacks sense, she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty!” But he doesn’t know that the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.”
Proverbs 11:22 (NIV), “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”
Proverbs 30:20 (NIV), “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The church, you and me, we are the body of Christ. Ephesians 5:23 (NIV) says, “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.” And in Ephesians 5:31-32 (NIV) we read, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery that is talking about both relationships (Jesus to the church and you to your wife). If we are His bride then our loyalty is to Him, as it would be to our earthly wife. We must remain faithful. When we start putting other things ahead of Him, golfing or fishing on Sundays instead of going to church, not reading His word, or not praying to Him, He has a right to get jealous.
Investigational Resources: The book of Exodus is an outstanding example of adultery. I challenge you read it, thinking of the Israelites, not as a group of individuals or community, but as a single person. Revelation 19:6-8, 21:2, 9, 22:17, Matthew 5:27-30, Exodus 34:15, Leviticus 6:23.
Officer Safety Principle: Are you cheating on God?
from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!