Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Prostitutes

One of those odd rules God gave to Israel was the whole "tassels" thing.
"Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God." (Num 15:38-40)
He tells the rule there -- put tassels on the four corners of their clothes. He includes the instruction to "put a cord of blue" in them. He tells why: "For you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord." All well and good. (And, I'll be honest, I don't actually understand how the 4 tassels help that, so ... moving on ...) What's really interesting is what follows. They were to remember His commandments for a reason. What reason? So they would obey them and "not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after."

Pretty tough language, isn't it? He describes their propensity to follow after their own hearts and eyes as prostitution. How is that prostitution? Well, consider. What is a prostitute? A prostitute is someone who engages prostitution. (Thanks, Free Dictionary. That wasn't helpful.) It is someone who engages in sexual activity for pay. In a more general sense, it refers to someone who compromises principles for personal gain.

God is drawing a parallel here. "Obey My commands. The alternative is to sell what I have invested in you for personal gain." How do they sell what He has given them? They pursue their own heart and their own eyes. They do what pleases them rather than what pleases God. They tell God, "You are not enough. What you've given me is not enough. Our relationship is not enough. I want what I want and will get it on my own."

In the Old Testament, God referred to Israel as His wife. In the New Testament, the Church is portrayed as "the Bride of Christ". There is a human parallel here offered in the relationship of God's people with their God. That parallel is marriage. And when God's people stray, He calls it "adultery". "You, God, are not enough. I'm looking elsewhere." The exact same concept.

This is not a world problem. The world doesn't have this relationship with God. The world is already immersed in its own pursuit of its own pleasure with a total disregard for God. No surprise there. This is a problem for the people of God. It is a failure to cling to God, a refusal to find our satisfaction and joy in Him. What does that look like? What is that refusal? It is when we pursue our own hearts and our own eyes. I do it. So do you. Who are the whores in the text? Each and every one of us that opts to pursue our own ideas and vision rather than God's ideas and heart. God says it is a natural inclination.

It's an old joke. "If anyone ever calls you a two-bit whore, you just hit them with your sack of quarters." Don't have a sack of quarters. Let's keep our heart and eyes on Him. Prostitution among believers is not a good testimony. "Remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God."

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