It was a grotesque sight, but all who saw it knew exactly what it meant. A quick glance at her face brought an instant hush to all discourse. Wherever she went — the supermarket, in the town square, at her place of employment, or at a restaurant — her appearance generated fearful gasps from other women and curious, frightened stares from small children. Worst of all, she knew why they responded in this way to her. One look in a mirror revealed the most prominent feature of her face, her nose, was missing. It had been cut off because she had committed adultery.

Not too far away on the outskirts of a Jewish community, there lay a pile of stones. Some of them were stained with blood. A closer look revealed two bodies had been buried beneath the rubble. Were they victims of a landslide? No. Had thieves beaten them and left them for dead? No. After committing adultery, they had been stoned to death. They had sealed their fate by their sin.

In the ancient Egyptian and Hebrew cultures, sexual sin was taken very seriously. The perpetrators were dealt with sternly and swiftly as a warning to the rest of the community. If sinful men have dealt this harshly with marital infidelity in the past, can you imagine how a just and holy God will deal with it today? In a world of ever-changing moral standards, God’s standards for marriage and sexuality have not changed. This means even though adultery may not cost you your nose or your life, it will bring God’s judgment upon you — and it will not be pleasant.

Do you struggle with sexual sins today? As a married person, maybe you haven’t literally committed adultery, but you fantasize about it in your mind. Remember Jesus equated lust with adultery. As a single person, you may watch television programs or read books and magazines which emphasize immodesty and immorality. Determine you will keep yourself mentally and physically pure until marriage (which will help you maintain your purity when you get married). Anyone who has committed adultery can tell you the shame and grief it has brought into their lives — it’s not worth your nose.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.