May 10 I Thursday
2 Kings 10-12
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise.” —Psalm 51:17
Perhaps the reason some people quickly dismiss the Bible’s sexual ethics is because many key figures in Scripture failed to uphold its own standard. Neither the Old nor New Testament present a golden age of gender harmony, sexual fidelity or traditional family values. While marriages like Mary and Joseph’s or Ruth and Boaz’s are positively portrayed, no marriage in Scripture is elaborated on enough to be considered exemplary.
The examples of sexual failure in Scripture are numerous. Matthew opens his Gospel with a genealogy of Christ, highlighting Him as “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). Although both Abraham and David were instrumental to Israel’s development as a nation and key members of the Messianic line, they were not good models of sexual behaviour.
Abraham is called “the father of faith” who modeled trust in God, yet he failed in that trust when he fathered an illicit child through his servant, Hagar, an Egyptian handmaiden he had brought back with him into Canaan. Fifteen years earlier, God had promised Abraham a son, but Abraham grew tired of waiting and decided to help God out by conceiving a child with Hagar.
David, a man after God’s own heart, had eight wives and at least 10 concubines. The most famous of these women is Bathsheba, whom David seduced, impregnated, and then placed her husband on the frontlines of battle to ensure his death so that no one would discover his adultery. His son, Solomon, had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and their pagan beliefs and worship eventually turned his heart away from God.
Some excuse these men’s sexual failures, claiming it was culturally normal back then to have more than one wife or for kings to solidify their power by intermarrying with the nobility of other nations. These arguments may make their sexual activity more understandable but do not diminish the sinfulness of their acts. Culture today also promotes a sexual ethic contrary to the Bible, but the opinions of society do not override the authority of God’s unchanging Word.
Scripture always speaks the truth about its heroes, and there is comfort in that. They were real people with real struggles to whom we can relate. We are all broken people in one way or another, and brokenness is actually a gift of God. It is as we genuinely surrender to God the areas of our brokenness, sexual or otherwise, that we begin to truly experience His redeeming hand. There are things we cannot conquer on our own, but as we live in dependence on God, wanting His will in our lives, His divine power will work in us to bring about change.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know which sins I struggle with most, but thank You that I find forgiveness, restoration and the power to stand firm in You. In Your most precious name.