Daisy Smith was hosting a scrap booking party and had invited the moms in the congregation along with their daughter to join her in the fellowship hall of the church to work on their pictures. To her delight there was a rather large turn out and they spent hours pouring over pictures, drinking coffee, eating various deserts, and laughing at family stories.
One such story involved Bernadette Henderson and how she managed to mix things up on another of the ten commandments. It all started, according to Martha Peterson, when Bernadette stopped by to play with Stella, or at least that what she thought she was doing there but in Bernadette's words, she had come to warn her.
“Warn me?” Martha said, “Warn me of what? I asked her.” “Weren't you listening to the sermon on Sunday?” Bernadette asked me and that started rambling on about how I was breaking the seventh commandment. And if she was here today she would have probably told us that most of us were.” When the ladies heard that several of them gasped in horror for they knew what the seventh commandment was.
“'WHAT?' I gasped, I never broke that commandment.” Martha said she told Bernadette. “'Yes you did.' Bernadette insisted, 'You grew up.' 'Well, yeah', I told her 'But what does that have to do with the seventh commandment? And here is what she said, 'It says “Thou shalt not commit adultery and you became an adult.”
After a bit of laughter, Martha continued her story, “'I think you’re a little mixed up.' I told her, 'I didn't brake the seventh commandment.' 'Are you telling me you never grew up? Bernadette asked when I said that, 'You sure look older than 18.' I am older than 18 I assured her. ' Than that means your an adult and if you’re an adult you broke the seventh commandment.' Bernadette insisted to me.”
“It took me nearly half an hour,” Martha continued, “Before I was able to convince her that becoming an adult doesn't mean you commit adultery. 'You mean it’s safe to grow up?' She finally asked. 'Yes, I told her, She could grow up and become an adult.' Still she said she didn't want to become an adult but stay a kids forever. When I asked her how she was going to keep from growing up, she said she was just going to quit having birthdays.”
“Sounds like all of us.” someone piped in when they heard that. “I quit having birthdays years ago.” someone else added and then everybody laughed. Once the laughter settled down, Martha finished her story telling them how Bernadette said she had to go tell a whole bunch of people, including her mom, that they had not committed adultery.
When I think of adultery there are two things that immediately come to mind – the seventh commandment - Exodus 20:14 You shall not commit adultery. (NASB) and the story of David and Bathsheba. What doesn't come to mind is growing up / becoming an adult.
The story of David and Bathsheba can be found in 2 Samuel 1. Here is a part of that story - Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, "I am pregnant." (NASB)
So, what is adultery? The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary describes it as follows: An act of unfaithfulness in marriage that occurs when one of the marriage partners voluntarily engages in sexual intercourse with a person other than the marriage partner.
When you read through the Bible, you can find many stories of adultery besides that of David and Bathsheba. You can also read that God is serious when it comes to keeping the 7th commandment.
- Deuteronomy 22:22 If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. (NASB)
- Leviticus 20:10 'If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (NASB)
Remember the woman in the New Testament that was brought before Jesus. She had committed adultery – not sure why they didn't bring the man – and her accusers wanted Jesus to say she deserved to be executed for they knew what the law said. Jesus agreed but showed her mercy after the accusers walked away.
Jesus lets us know in the New Testament that adultery goes beyond the physical act in Matthew 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (NASB)
Of course, this doesn't mean all sex is out, after all God created it. I don't quote from the Message paraphrase very often but here Hebrews 13:4 Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex. (MSG)
Here's Something To Ponder
- How serious are you willing to take the 7th commandment?
- How guilty are you in light of Jesus word's in Matthew?