The Word for today:
A. And so we reach the infamous 23rd chapter of Ezekiel. The story is simple. There are two sisters with hard-to-pronounce names. One represents the northern kingdom (called 'Samaria' here, after its capital city.) The other sister represents the southern kingdom (called 'Jerusalem' here, after its capital.)
Q. OK, two oddly-named sisters who allegorically represent the northern and southern kingdoms. Nothing that needs to be wrapped in plain brown paper yet.
A. Both of the sisters are prostitutes.
A. Not only that. These two take the concept of prostitution to new, ever-lower levels.
Q. Oh. Well, why's that in the Bible?
A. So we'll stop being prostitutes ourselves.
Q. I find that offensive.
A. So does God. That's why chapter 23 is in there. The Bible's primary concern is our relationship with God, and so it uses words that define relationship--words like husband, wife, bride, bridegroom. If a positive relationship with God is expressed in terms of a marriage, then a relationship gone bad is expressed in terms of spiritual adultery or spiritual prostitution.
Q. So it's just spiritual adultery or prostitution, it's not real adultery or prostitution.
A. To God it's real. God is Spirit (1), so spiritual adultery is real enough to break his heart.
Q. I don't want that.
A. Prostitutes 'love' for money. If we're in this for something, anything, other than God himself, then we're no different than the two sisters in Ezekiel 23. For the love of God, stay with him. Stay with him, for the love of God.
(1) John 4:24
(1) John 4:24