“Break it: you’ve bought it.” The standard china shop message – you have to pay for any damage you do. And that is the basic premise of Exodus 22:16-17. If a guy had sex with a young girl, he had to marry her, with all the cost that entailed. Even if her father would not let them marry, he still had to pay the price.
How does that work in our society where so many people fall into bed with whoever they shared their last drink of a night out? The freedom to have sex with anyone anytime is supremely important to many. Even those who would be a bit pickier, see it as the norm to enjoy sex with the person they are in some sort of relationship with. The concept of abstention until marriage is not only seen as fuddy-duddy, but as unnaturally suppressive.
In fact I’m guessing it may be the number one reason why many people actively resist having anything to do with church or God. Their liberty to have sex is too important to them – and in that sense their unrestraint is their god – the thing they would put first.
Abstinence itself has a lot going for it. This is a huge topic; I’m only scraping the surface. In simple terms, God made his rules for a reason, that they are good for us as individuals and for society in general, and there is always a price to pay when you flout them.
But another question emerges – what is so important to you, that it comes before your love and worship and following after God? What person, item, freedom, pleasure or privilege do you hold on to too tightly? Who or what takes first place? “Have no other gods before me.”