This week the world held its breath as Israel negotiated the release of some of the hostages taken last month. Ironically, the Gaza Strip is biblically part of the promise land guaranteed to God’s people.
Gaza is located in the former northern kingdom of Israel, Israel became a divided nation originally because the nation turned from God and worshiped other gods. It is also the place where Samson was betrayed by Delilah and met his death.
Over the years, it has been controlled by different countries but was always promised to God’s people. Israel is made up of four regions, each part of the original promised land.
- The Mediterranean coastal plain
- The hill regions of northern and central Israel
- The Great Rift Valley
- the Negev
Those who have read the Old Testament, understand the spiritual and global significance of the Promised Land (Genesis 15:18-21). It is more than just a place of resources for God’s people.
Like a shepherd who keeps the flock together, it is a sanctuary to protect God’s people from the evil of this world, that is why God set up specific boundaries for the nation He calls His own. It is a way for God to keep his people together in one place. In Judaism, it’s important for the family to stay together.
The symbolism is obvious in the family analogy of God’s people. Going up in the South I’m familiar with the church considering itself the “family” of God. However, for Israel, the term is much deeper and more spiritual.
After Abraham obeyed God’s call to leave home and follow God, God promised Abraham that his descendants would become a nation set apart as God’s people and representatives on the earth (Genesis 17:3-15).
The Abrahamic Covenant sets God’s people apart from the world; they are holy and wholly devoted to God. Holiness is defined as “set apart for.” God’s people are commanded to be faithful to Him.
One of the most damning accusations in the Old Testament is adultery. The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for adultery is nā’ap̄. Adultery attacks the holy unit of the family.
Adultery isn’t just reserved for individuals; often the prophets called God’s people adulterous because they turned from the God they are supposed to be committed to. This is the reason Judaism takes adultery seriously, those who are guilty of it are dealt with harshly. Below are three common punishments for adultery found in the Torah.
In the New Testament, Jesus reminded the Jewish Pharisees about God’s desire and plan for the family (Matthew 19:3-12). Christianity explains the importance of marriage being holy and how the wife and husband must treat each other (Matthew 5:32, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Peter 3:7).
God’s desire is for His people to remain committed To Him and the family. God knows how evil our hearts and minds are. Years ago a Promise Keepers speaker shared that adultery always begins in our hearts and our heads before it ever becomes physical.
I have already expressed how our hearts and heads work together and the importance of the Jewish Shema. Scripture explains the importance of the head for the people of God. The husband is considered the head of the home and Jesus is called the head of the church (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 1:21- 22, Colossians 1:18).
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, makes the church holy and sets us apart from the lost and the ways of this world. This is why we are saved by grace for good works, we are impure and sinful.
The Apostle Paul talks about the fruit of the spirit being different than the fruits of this world (Galatians 5:22-23), they are proof we are set apart from this world.
Jesus taught His followers that whoever lusts in his mind and heart is already guilty of adultery. Jesus knows our works and actions begin in our heads and hearts (Matthew 5:27-28). When conservatives and God’s people act like the world, we are guilty of adultery (nā’ap̄)!