2 Timothy 3:16-17
16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The New Testament cannot be properly understood and applied to our lives without knowledge of the Old Testament. As we work through passages dealing with the OT Law, it is good to keep in mind the following two basic principles:
1. The expectations of God upon Israel reveal His character.
2. The exposure of sin in Israel reveals our need for Christ.
The last three sections in Exodus 21-22 provided a structured look at three basic themes:
1. Laws Concerning Slavery (21.1-11)
2. Laws Concerning Violence (21.12-36)
3. Laws Concerning Theft and Restitution (22.1-15)
This morning we are facing what seems to be a disconnected list of items (22.16-31). But the great unifying factor that ties them together is that God gave this list to us. He gave it so that we might ponder over it and pull principles from it.
We should also recall the fact that these specific laws come after the Ten Commandments in chapter 20. These are specific applications of the Decalogue. Take the 7th Commandment as an example:
14You shall not commit adultery.
This is the general prohibition, but God also filled this out in the chapters that follow. This brings us to the beginning of our text this morning…
16If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. 17If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.
Transition: These two verses address a very relevant topic tearing away at our society and undermining the institution of marriage. First, we see God’s attitude toward…
Recreational Rebellion and Casual Sex
Explanation: The man in this passage enticed a willing woman and had a physical relationship with her. There was no intent to marry. As a consequence of his actions, he was to pay the bride-price for this woman to be his wife. The text makes it clear that it was entirely possible he would pay this bride-price and still not end up with the girl. Verse 17 states that the father could utterly refuse to give his daughter to him, but he would still have to pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.
It is good at this point to define the concept of a bride-price. We begin by stating what it is not: It is not payment for the bride herself. It is similar to the concept of a dowry. The man would not be paying for the woman but providing a dowry.
Even though the woman willingly sinned, she lost a precious gift; namely, her virginity. She was to give herself only to her husband. So, something of great value had been taken from her. Upon losing this precious virginity, the woman also lost her good name. Many in ancient Israel would label her as damaged goods. Since this the case, the man who enticed her committed a great evil against her regardless her initial willingness to give in to him.
This would certainly serve as a deterrent for casual physical relationships in Israel. We can hardly understand this kind of thing in our overcharged, sensual society. Yet God made provision for the woman. This is the grace of God in the Law of God. God required that the woman’s dowry be paid.
There may be a man in her future that would be willing to overlook her sinful past. If he did, he would not have to pay her bride-price or dowry. This had already been provided.
1. When people live together and have physical relationships with one another, they are not married in the sight of God. They are sinning in the sight of God. They need to be saved, stop living together, get pre-marital counseling, and get married.
2. If a man and a woman commit sin by being unfaithful and giving away something they should not, then matters need not be compounded by forcing marriage. There are situations where people living together are not right for each other. A father will protect his daughter by sometimes advising her to not marry a man she sins with.
3. Another principle that may come from this passage involves the input of the godly father. Couples should seek parental blessing before marriage occurs. Complicating factors may require additional wisdom, but God liberally gives this wisdom when we ask. The man should especially speak to the woman’s father. This is the duty of every godly young man.
4. Recreational relationships turn into recreational sex. It is foolish to think otherwise. As far as I know, the Bible says nothing about recreational, aimless relationships and yet this is what parents often unwittingly train their children to have. Any relationship between young men and young women should be based on godly principles and godly protections. Young people who balk against these principles and protections are spiritually immature and deceived. This is why parents need to work hard at being firm and loving.
5. The young men in this congregation would do well to guard their purity and protect the purity of our young ladies. That’s not old-fashioned, but rather it is the right and godly thing to do.
6. Our young ladies should dress modestly, wear sparing make-up, and draw attention to that inward beauty which is cultivated with a relationship with Christ. Is He sufficient to meet your needs or not?
Transition: Verses 18-20 provide further insight about expectations that God has for any healthy society. It also exposes us to heinous sin. We call these sins…
The Big Three
Exodus 22:18-20 (NKJV)
18You shall not permit a sorceress to live. 19Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death. 20He who sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
Background: Sorcery, bestiality, and flat-out idolatry are all mentioned in these three verses. Committing these sins led to the death penalty in Israel. All three of them are closely linked with the religious idolatry in Canaan. God did not want His children to be like these iniquitous people.
1. Sorcery (22.18)
Explanation: Leviticus 20.27 states that “a man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death…” So, it matters little if it is a man or a woman, a witch or a warlock. It matters little if the witch and/or warlock is deemed white or black; good or bad.
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (NKJV)
9When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.
Acts 8 speaks of a man who was a sorcerer. His name was Simon. He practiced his art and astonished the people of Samaria with his wizardry. He was proud and claimed to be a great man with the great power of God. The people listened to Simon because of the great magical arts that he performed for a long time.
Along comes a man of God named Philip. This evangelist preaches the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ. Many of these Samaritans are converted and baptized. Simon the Sorcerer was among the converts. In this time of transition, the Samaritans received the Spirit only after the apostles prayed for them. Simon witnessed this and offered money to Peter for the power to lay hands on people and give them the Spirit of God.
Simon wanted to buy spiritual ability, spiritual power, and spiritual authority. He failed to appreciate what was happening. He was a new convert that had a long way to go. Peter rebuked Simon with great force. God’s gifts are gifts; people cannot buy them because God gives them freely. This is the crux of God’s grace. Simon was being controlled by the old man. Bitterness, bondage, and sin characterized him.
Simon was terrified by Peter’s rebuke. Perhaps Simon was not truly converted. Perhaps he was. Good men disagree on this matter. Still, it is true that Christians can commit any sin under the proper provocation. Simon was lifted fresh out of demonism and sorcery. He needed to learn how important it is to behave under the control of God’s Holy Spirit. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t fall dead at Peter’s feet as Ananias did. He sinned out of ignorance and fell back on his old ways; Ananias knew what he was doing and paid a dear price for it.
The point is that sorcery is terrible, but God can save the most desperate of sinners. Sorcery is sinful because it undermines the sovereignty and control of God over His creation. When a person is saved from such a background, they need to learn that they may still access supernatural power: they do so through prayer to God alone and not to demons.
· Sorcery and witchcraft are filled with rebellious elements used for selfish, humanistic purposes.
· Consider the fact that Harry Potter readers do not learn about God’s omnipotent power in Rowling’s Christ-less books. It should concern parents that their young people are enchanted with these books.
· Satan will deceive, distract, and destroy this coming generation. Sorcery will be a tool he uses. Even believers are duped into watching television that familiarizes them with demonism and the principalities and powers.
· If you don’t know the Savior, it’s easy to accept a counterfeit spirituality. Sorcery fits the bill. Witchcraft maintains that there is no power outside of oneself. It is the rebel believing the lie in the garden. You can be gods and goddesses. It is the breakdown of godly authority. It is a disdain for the muggles - the teachers, the parents, and pastors! Forget authority and live for you.
· When we deliberately or neglectfully allow witchcraft to have access to our precious children, we show God how little we truly value them. Those who truly respect and honor God’s Creation and the stewardship entrusted to them, will not willingly hand their children over to seducing spirits.
2. Bestiality (22.19)