Deuteronomy 22:21 – An Outrageous Thing

Consider how the morals in America – as well as in the world – have changed through the years.  Do you think they’ve improved.  Are they pleasing to God?  Sadly, no.

When Yahweh chose Israel to be His special heritage (Deuteronomy 32:9), it was to raise up a nation wholly devoted to Him, so that it could then be a blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3).  God wanted to pour out His favor upon all mankind because of His great love for His creation.

Free will – a gift to man – was also our downfall.  It is free will that enables us to choose – to be independent agents from God.  Because of the free will He gave us, we are moral creatures separate from Him, not robots that act only in accord with what He desires.

God gave each man a conscience, i.e. an imprint of His character and virtues.  Being made in the image of God, we start out with the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil.  However, the nature of our heart is wicked, deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  Our sin nature quickly challenges the goodness that God implants in each of us.  Through our free will choices and the sin that pulls us away from the good that is God, our conscience doesn’t last long in that pristine imaging of God in which it began.  Every act contrary to God’s nature hardens us a little more and separates us from who He is and what we could be.

Through the nation of Israel, God intended to show the sinful world there was a better way than that which man (and the world) decided was best.  God made humanity, male and female (Genesis 1:27), and effectively declared that only when a woman left her father’s house was she to have sexual relations with a man (Genesis 2:24).  They were to be monogamous in their relationship.

That didn’t last long.  We see in Genesis 4:19 that by the seventh generation from Adam and Eve, Lamech took two wives.  Did that contribute to his moral character, or lack thereof?  Several verses later in Genesis 4:23, Lamech declares that he has killed a man, following in the footsteps of his great, great, great grandfather Cain.  We also know that during this period the sons of God descended from their heavenly abode to take human women for themselves (Genesis 6:1-4) and that this caused contamination of the human bloodline and depravity to enter the world.  Sin plus depravity equals abomination in God’s eyes.

In trying to teach His children Israel His ways rather than those of the world around them, Yahweh laid out certain laws regarding sexual immorality.  In expounding on these laws, God let it be known that a young woman – a virgin – was to remain that way while in her father’s house until she should be married.  This was so important to retain morality in the land that He declared in Deuteronomy 22:20-21:

“But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

A number of times throughout the book of Deuteronomy, God emphasizes that Israel should “purge the evil from your midst.”  In the sight of God, the loss of a woman’s virginity, i.e. her innocence, was such an outrageous thing that it had to be met with the death of the young woman.  Wow.  Why was that?  Because of the continuing corruption of morals that sex outside of marriage brought into the thinking of a family, a village, and the nation.

The Apostle Paul in Romans 1:24-25 explained what happens to man’s thinking in this context:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Lust brings impurity, which leads to the dishonoring of one’s body, which causes someone to believe a lie, which inspires that person to worship creation rather than the Creator God.  Sexual immorality is the road one travels to apostasy.

Is it any wonder that in our world today – in this once great nation of America – we have fallen so far from God and the truth of His Son, Jesus Christ?  Even though it had been present from close to the very beginning, once we embraced the notion that sex outside of marriage (or multiple intimate relationships) was the good and proper way for us to have male-female relations, everything went downhill from there.

The 1950s was a decade portrayed as promoting the nuclear family.  Remember shotgun weddings?  A young woman sexually engaging with a young man brought shame to the family.  That all changed in the 1960s – the decade of free love.

Look at where we are now.

God has His good and righteous reasons for every command He gives us.  This nation doesn’t have much time left before it dissolves and merges into the rest of the world as the global mindset brings us down to the lowest common denominator of worldly morals.  However, true Christians continue to have the choice of honoring God.

The only way we can be salt and light in the midst of the rot and decay of the culture around us is to be obedient to God in all ways.  Anyone who considers him- or her- self a Christ-follower and is in an immoral relationship, i.e. a sexual relationship outside of marriage, must make that right before God.  There is a price to pay for immorality.

If we don’t stand with and for God in all He stands for; we stand against Him.

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