Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, July 20, 2014

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Jerusalem a prostitute?  It scarcely bears thinking about it.  What self-respecting husband wants to think of his wife selling herself to strangers?  Yet it is not the first time Ezekiel has spoken of Jerusalem this way (Ezekiel 16).

Now the picture is darker because this story is here put alongside that of Sister Samaria.  And we discover that the prostitution of these two sisters is no new thing.  It goes back all the way to Egypt.

Yahweh had two wives who were sisters.  What, the Lord as polygamist?  The law had long ago picked up the hint from the story of Rachel and Leah and had prohibited any man from simultaneously marrying sisters (Lev 18:18).  Well, it is a metaphor, and if we can get past that part of the metaphor we can see how powerful the image is.
Lust, the destroyer of life and family.  Yet those Assyrians looked so handsome in their dashing uniforms, as do the Babylonians, so what woman would not fall?  Why invest in relationship when such an alluring quick fix is at hand?  Even when the lust is not sexual, the desire for the safety this army can provide is alluring.  Have even Christian countries really given up their lust for military might?  Hardly.

Yet the story of Amnon and Tamar reminds us that illicit sex can turn from lust to disgust and even hatred (2 Sam 13:15).  Place your trust in the world and one day it will turn and eat you, stripping you bare, exposing your shame.  But in the day of battle you will never be overcome and exposed if Yahweh is on your side.

To reach rock bottom is not necessarily a bad place to be.  That’s when  I see that God alone can lift me up.  And the sinner who cries out to Him for help will never be turned away!

Ross Cole
Senior Lecturer
Avondale College, Australia