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Did God Order an Abortion? Part I

If a flagrant misuse of God’s Word doesn’t motivate me to blog again… I don’t know what will.

We need to talk. Not just you and me, Bloggy friends, but anyone who might fall prey to the confusing language and false pretenses of the post I am about to show you. And, if you happen to be the author of this post, I also would like to have this conversation with you, because I fear you are being led far astray from the great blessings that are found in the Scripture. I do not mean any disrespect toward you personally.

My righteous anger is turned not toward you but toward the Evil One who has led you astray, to the lies this world propagates as it turns hearts away from God. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) So please, bear with me, hear what I have to say and feel free to enter into a discourse of Christian brotherly love. Truly, if I did not care – I would not write.

This is the blog post I will be discussing here:

Before I ask my first question, I will answer it. All of my translations come from the English Standard Version. When reading this post, I could not find the translation of the Biblical text that you (dear author) were using. Although, it appears to be from the new NIV translation. In any case, it is a confusing translation as v. 21 says “swell and miscarry”, whereas v. 22 reads “swell or miscarry”. But, without a reference available, I will go from the text you have presented and encourage my readers to follow along in their Bibles or check out this page for a helpful multi-translation comparison.

From the original post, Numbers 5, verse 21: “here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.”

There is very little discussion within the post, mostly drawn conclusions without any clear argument. So, let’s look at the conclusions that are being made. The title of the blog post asks the question “God ordered an abortion?” This text from Numbers is given as an apparent proof prompting the reader to answer for himself in the affirmative. Before I lay out my case as to why the answer is no, let me begin by saying – this is a loaded question.

When the reader hears the word “abortion” what does he immediately think? The connotation of an abortion is the voluntary or forced death and/or removal of a fetus in a woman’s womb. (By voluntary I am referring to the woman’s participation in the abortion; obviously a fetus is never a voluntary participant.) And it is this connotation of the word that strikes our minds when it is suggested that God commands an abortion – that God told a woman to kill her child. This is not the case at all.

Even in the original translation the word “miscarry” is used rather than “abort”. A fetus or the mother’s body can, through natural processes, cause a termination of pregnancy, and technically you can call that an abortion of the pregnancy. But the word abortion is loaded, and it is used to confuse rather than clarify. So, let’s clarify. God did not tell a woman to kill her baby.

The text clearly states “when he makes your womb miscarry” (Emphasis mine). God is the one who is here taking a life. What is important to understand is that, the woman is not required to drink this curse upon herself. The point of the ceremony is that the husband believes she is lying about her infidelity; if she truly did commit adultery resulting in this unborn child, she could have willingly confessed her sin to her husband, thrown herself on his mercy and perhaps saved the baby’s life.*

But that is not what she does. She lies about her sin, covers it up and forfeits that grace, mercy and forgiveness. She is bringing this curse willingly upon herself and her child, not because God commanded her to, but because she refused to confess her sin.

It is her sin – her lie, not God’s command, that ultimately results in the death of the child. The ceremony is not addressing adultery, but rather it is addressing the truth. If the woman is living in truth already, either she has nothing to fear of such a ceremony or no ceremony would need take place.

This is a good point to pause because, like I mentioned earlier, it is so easy for us to miss the blessings in God’s Word when we turn it into a political game. The ceremonies and traditions in the Old Testament, yes even the Old Testament text itself, all share one purpose – to point us to Christ. This is the reason for the entire Bible! And here, in this passage, we see a beautiful portrayal of our relationship to God in Christ Jesus.

When we hide our sin, and bear its terrible burden, what we receive from God is wrath. God cannot abide with our sin. The wages of sin is death, after all. BUT if we confess our sin, if we bring our sins into the light of the truth, and we repent of them – turn away from them and renounce them then… then we are given life. We are granted forgiveness because of the blood shed for us by Jesus on the cross.

God does not want any of us to drink the cursed cup of death, just as God did not desire for the woman in the ceremony to drink of it. And so He Himself drank God’s cup of wrath for us. He ripped it from our hands and drank every last drop until there was none left to harm us; and He died in our place.

Don’t you see? This is not about politics, abortion, war, famine or any of that. The Bible is so much more than what you’ve made it out to be – it is God’s promises to us, His salvation that He freely gives to us. How dare we make any less of it! Satan loves for us to focus on these minute details, to get so caught up in God’s words that we miss His WORD, that we miss His Life, the Life that He gave to us.

I beg of you, my dear readers, and the author of the original post, do not miss God’s Word! Don’t miss what He’s offering in favor of that which is in the world. This world’s interpretations and speculations of God’s voice have nothing on God’s true promises for us. Read the Bible, not to prove your point – but rather to receive life and salvation and the forgiveness of your sins.

And to all of those reading this – if you have a sin that is bothering your conscience, even one that brings torture to your soul, do not keep it hidden! Bring it out into the light, tell a Christian brother or sister, or better yet go to your pastor. Confess the sin, tell him what it is that you have done that has destroyed your relationship with God, and hear the forgiveness God has to offer you. Nothing is more freeing than bringing your sin into the light and watching it be washed away forever in the blood of Christ.

Now, with this in mind, I will move forward in a follow-up post discussing the conclusions made in more detail. This is an important step to take, as the assertions made by the original poster can bring confusion to some and be a roadblock to faith for others. I address these to remove such obstacles, so that we can view this passage in the light of Christ and His love for us. But it is important that we first looked at that love so that we can keep it in mind as we move forward.

Read Part II Read Part III

*This does not address the possible punishment for adultery that might be enforced in Old Testament Israel. I will briefly address this in Part II, along with the rest of the original blogger’s post.

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