Time Out

How is that possible?

Hosea 3:1-5 (NIV)

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.

One of the hallmarks of sin is how it makes you want to say, “Time out. How is it even possible that …?”

This time it’s, “How is it even possible that Gomer’s relapse into prostitution led to her being for sale as a slave?” The text gives no explanation at all; it’s just assumed to be normal.

It is normal. Prostitution and human trafficking go hand-in-hand. That’s how it works, even today. This is a chilling glimpse into the nature of sin.

Sin isn’t a collection of individual behaviors that pop up on occasion; it’s an interconnected network of evil. It manifests itself in different ways in different situations, but it’s one thing.

Prostitution isn’t that different from slavery anyway. It’s certainly no one’s idea of liberty.

In today’s passage, we see that they aren’t separate. While there are many slaves who aren’t prostitutes, prostitutes are almost always less than free.

Time out. How is it even possible that Gomer would want to go back to that?

How is it even possible that the Israelites, given their glorious history, would worship the Baals?

Sin never ceases to amaze. The interconnected network of evil has a way of sucking people in. It sucks in people like you and me too, often in ways we’re unaware of.

Sin sucks in the victims. It sucks in the human traffickers (who don’t realize they’re just pawns). It even sucks in our leaders.

For example, in California, sex with an underage prostitute is only a misdemeanor.

Time out. What?!

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.