For No Other Cause

Adultery is not always that visible, outward, sexual act. No, it is much more subtle than that. It is a matter of the heart. Adultery as defined in the Thesaurus has many shadings of meaning: infidelity, unfaithfulness, falseness, disloyalty, cuckoldry, extramarital sex. Gods Word speaks on the subject repeatedly as the nation of Israel consistently were unfaithful to Him who was faithful to them.

The adulteries of Israel were many and varied. At the core they involve not loving God whole-heartedly, but instead turning from Him toward others and things that competed with their affections. This adultery was blatantly seen in their continually turning towards other gods that were no gods at all. They were easily deceived to follow their own heart toward those things that would promise them wealth, health, power, prestige, protection, provision and so many other heart-desires.

How many times does God call Israel an adulterous nation? Fifty, one hundred, two hundred? Were they having sex with their other lovers? Not likely; they were giving their hearts to them, not necessarily their bodies. Here are some verses to think about:

Exodus 20:1-5: And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…

Exodus 20:14: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Jeremiah 3:8: And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce;

Jeremiah 5:7: How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.

Ezekiel 16:32: But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!

Proverbs 30:20: Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

Matthew 16:4: A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Mark 8:38: Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

So we see then that adultery is much more than an outward, visible act. It is always a matter of the heart. In rare cases, one may be caught in the act. But God does not look on the outside, He looks upon the heart. Thank God that when one is caught in the act and made to face judgment God extends mercy and grace by way of repentance. You see, when someone is adulterous it is not a statement on their spouse’s failure but their own wayward heart. Was God unfaithful or Israel? God is always faithful, He never leaves or forsakes, His spouse does.

God had given me this message early this week. Little did I know that He would finish it for me in one of my readings. This is from Johan Tauler, a German theologian from the 1300’s who had a profound impact on many including: John Bunyan, John Wesley, Martin Luther and Jeane Guyon, Fenelon, St. John of the Cross and more.

We touched on the words which our Lord spoke by the Prophet: “You have played the wanton and have followed a stranger as your lover; you have despised Me and gone after a stranger’s love; but now come back toMe and I will give you true repentance and pour into you living waters; if only you will return to Me with all your heart.” Jer. 3.

Observe the inconceivable and unspeakable mercy and goodness of God. How gladly He would talk to us as friend to friend if we would only go to Him. Our Lord has also said that if we fail to come back to Him, “I will contend with you in judgment.” A sorry warfare that will be for us, to contend with Him; for He will surely get the upper hand.

Children, take care, lest when that time comes, He will say that you are no sheep of His. For His sheep have heard His voice and have not followed a stranger, as He Himself said. Now what is this adultery which our Lord said you had committed so abominably? According to the spiritual sense, and not interpreting it more materially, it is, to say the least, that you have delayed in the world of images. And the stranger who you have followed, this lover of yours, is the host of alien images and notions through which you should have passed to Him. With such things your unfaithful hearts have dallied. But now come to Him and He will give you welcome and will pour living waters into you.

In the New Testament, our Lord mentions this water on two occasions in the Gospel. “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believes in Me, … out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water, and they shall flow into everlasting life.” John 7:37-38. He spoke of this same water to the woman at the well: “Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst for ever.” John 4:13. “If you had asked it of Me,” He says, “I would have given it to you.” “Sir,” said the woman, “give me this water that I may not thirst nor come hither to draw.” Then our Lord said, “First go and call your husband (which is self-knowledge), and confess to Me from the depths of your soul that you have been no better than a cistern for all the long time that you have neglected to drink of the living water: and then they may be given to you. Also, you have had five husbands that is to say, the five senses). Alas! you have lived with them, used them for your pleasure, and made yourself unworthy of the living fountain by this inordinate insistence upon exterior and sensible [e.g. sensual] practices. But now abandon them and turn to Me, and I will give you welcome.”

You will find our Lord complaining of you again in the second chapter of Jeremias; “I planted you a chosen vineyard,” and I expected that you would have produced for me the best wine of Cyprus, wine of Engaddi. He spoke of the great labor He had spent upon His vineyard: “I have dug it over, made a hedge round about it, and dug in it a press, and gathered out the stones.” Though He said this to His chosen people, God meant it for all men, from that time until the end of the world. “And you have become bitter to Me, you have yielded sour wine, bitter and acid. Instead of the finest wine and grapes, you have given Me wild grapes and wretched verjuice—and for this I must contend with you in judgment. Yet only come back to Me, and I will pour into you living waters and true love.” (paraphrasing Isa. 5:1-4).


For no other cause.