by Nathan Bailey
The cherem of courtship
How your flirting can bring a curse on someone!
If we make a covenant to be sanctified to the Lord until we are ready to court, we become sanctified/dedicated to Him. We claim that we are His special property until such time as we are prepared to give our hearts to another in marriage. This makes flirting very dangerous, because it becomes an invitation to steal from God. By flirting, you invite that person to be attracted to you, ultimately, to lust after you. Their desire is for something they cannot have — something that is set apart to God!
This dedication and ownership to God is similar to our tithe. God describes this portion as His, He calls it 'cherem'. Cherem is an Old Testament (Hebrew) term for something that is holy and set apart to God. Leviticus 27:28-32 describes it as holy (devoted); Joshua 7:1 as under the ban (banished/accursed).
In terms of our finances, our tithe is the portion that belongs to God. When we give it to him, he promises a blessing, even invites us to test him! (Malachi 3:10). When we keep it for ourselves, we rob God and bring a curse upon ourselves (Malachi 3:8-9) This is why God wants us to give Him our tithe — to remove the cursed portion from our families and our house, and release him to be able to open the floodgates of blessing upon us!
Prior to marriage, we are set apart to God. Our pre-marriage years are his portion, to be dedicated to developing character, growing in God and deepening our relationship with Him (1 John 2:13b, 14b). Those who make the commitment to wait, leaving romantic relationships for when they are ready to be married, have plenty to do in the meantime! :-)
By flirting, we are inviting someone to desire what we have set apart for God — we are inviting them to act like Achan!
Joshua 7 tells the story of a man named Achan, who ignored God's plan for the tithe. In Joshua 6:17-19, God had described Jericho as cherem — it was Israel's first-fruits in battle and possession, and as such, should be set apart to God. Achan, however, disregarded God's warning and took part of this cherem for himself, hidding the golden idol in his tent. Achan's disobedience led to a great defeat at Alia.
How does this tie in to courtship and dating? If you have committed your heart to God, it becomes consecrated to Him, just like your tithe — it is 'cherem'! And then, if you invite someone to lust after you (by flirting), you bring a curse on them, because they desire something that is 'cherem'!
Paul encourages us not to 'defraud' [1 Thess 4:6] each other, and [1 Tim 5:2] encourages us to treat each other as siblings, "in all purity." Flirting is about trying to elicit a reaction from someone else — usually, to boost your own self esteem. "They respond positively to my flirting, therefore they are attracted to me, therefore I am attractive, therefore I am worth something." Don't find your value in someone elses flirtatious smile, find your value in a God who loves you for who he created you to be!© Copyright 1997-2010, Nathan Bailey, All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to print these articles for personal use, in whole or in part, provided the extract references the original URL, http://polynate.net/books/courtship/, so that people can find the latest version.