Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Numbers five tells us of a very strange ritual concerning the 'woman suspected of adultery'. The ritual is very different from all others because it depends on a miracle. In those days women were not to be seen alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a relative or their husband. Here is a scenario: A man sees his wife several times alone in the company of another man. He does not witness any indiscretion but finds it very strange that his wife should break protocol in this way. He suspects her of adultery. Immediately he has to stop marital relationships until she is vindicated. To vindicate her, the man has to bring his wife to Jerusalem where an officiating priest will unbind her hair and make her drink a potion of water, ink, and dust from the tabernacle (reminiscent of the Golden Calf episode in Exodus: 32:20). If she is guilty, her womb will swell and her thigh will drop, but if she is not guilty of adultery, she will conceive and have a child (Numbers 5: 14-31). At first glance the system seems chauvinistic and even ludicrous The whole thing also solely depends on the operation of a miracle for either vindication or condemnation.
The sages of Israel teach that the whole point though was to protect the woman from an over jealous husband, to exonerate her, as well as to preserve marital harmony.
He who is married to Israel preserves marital harmony with His bride even at the cost of His own Name. The passage tells us that the priest is to write God's Name and then dilute it in water, mix it with dirt and give it to the woman to drink. This erasure of the Divine Name comes against and despite the forbiddance to do so (Deuteronomy 12:3-4). In order to bring marital peace and unity God is willing to let His own Name be erased and dragged through the dirt.
Pondering on this point, I am saddened when I realize the flippant attitude many have towards marriage. Whereas the Father of all Compassions seems to go to the nth degree to preserve marital peace and harmony, I see (and you probably do too) many marriages broken because of trivial and mostly selfish reasons; sometimes even because of theological differences. Whereas Paul, the chosen apostle of the Master, advises marriages between believers and idol-worshipping pagans to remain together (1 Corinthians 7) nowadays people divorce because can't agree on how to worship the same God. Such a sad reflection on the Father!
The way I see it, we would be destroyed if He treated us the way we treat each other, and be lost if He judged us the way we judge each other (Psalm 103:10). If only we would realize the sanctity God places on marital harmony, on peace in the home called in Hebrew: 'shalom Bayit', we would understand the infiniteness of His love and compassion. www.yediedeiadoanai.weebly.com
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