HAVE YOU BEEN ROBBED?
As Judy, Vicki and I spent a weekend at a cabin up in the woods of Snohomish County, we asked for an understanding of the spiritual devastation we were seeing in our own lives, as well as the women we were ministering to. As He opened up chapters four and five of the book of Hosea, He exposed the strategies of the enemy to keep us in captivity.
VERSES 11 AND 12 BECAME THE KEY VERSES DESCRIBING HOW WE’D BEEN SO TRAGICALLY MISLED. IN THE NEXT POST WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING VERSES SHOWING THE FRUIT OF THE ROBBERY.
“HARLOTRY, WINE, AND NEW WINE TAKE AWAY THE HEART, THE MIND, AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.” HOSEA 4:11 (AMP)
DID YOU SEE THAT? OUR HEART, MIND, AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING ARE TAKEN AWAY…ROBBED.
So what really is harlotry? It comes from the Hebrew word zĕnuwth and blueletterbible.org shows the definitions as:
Fornications, whoredoms, always used figuratively (a) of the worship of idols (b) of any want of fidelity to God, e.g. that of a complaining and seditious people (those who lead others into rebellion), (words of emphasis in parenthesis are mine).
What that tells us is the use of harlotry in this context would be like spiritual adultery. Just think about it… we discussed in earlier posts, when our wounds become our idols and control us instead of God, we are committing idolatry, AKA spiritual adultery. But there’s even more to it than that.
What does God mean by the word “wine” in this passage? The same source shows it comes from the Hebrew word yayin
- Perhaps so called from bubbling up and fermenting
- The effects of wine – intoxication
And “new wine” is much the same, only the Hebrew word is tiyrowsh and specifically signifies newly pressed wine.
Because in intoxicating it takes possession of the brain.
SO MUCH TO WRAP OUR HEADS AROUND ON THE WORDS USED IN THIS SCRIPTURE! SO HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO SEE HOW YOU MAY HAVE ENDED UP WITH AN OPEN DOOR TO THE THIEF. DO ANY OF THESE APPLY TO YOU?
- Have you ever been a heavy drinker?
- Have any of your ancestors been heavy drinkers?
- Has your mate (one-flesh) ever had a drinking problem?
- Have you ever been promiscuous, (literally or in your mind)?
- Have any of your ancestors been promiscuous?
- Has your mate (one-flesh) ever been promiscuous?
- Have you ever committed idolatry?
- Have any of your ancestors committed idolatry?
- Has your mate (one-flesh) ever committed idolatry?
Reading over this list of questions reminds me of all the ways we try to satisfy the longing in our hearts for love…and, because we are broken, just how often we attempt to satisfy that longing with the wrong things.
I actually have never struggled with alcoholism in my life, but I certainly am no stranger to using marijuana and other psychedelic drugs back in my younger days, and those were certainly days when I was running away from God. But today, as a pastor’s wife, I can admit I enjoy a glass of wine some evenings…and I don’t think there’s anything sinful about that. Now, having multiple glasses of wine to the point of becoming intoxicated, well that’s another thing and I would have to say that’s what I believe this scripture is referring to. The intoxication of alcohol may numb the pain in your heart temporarily, but it also has serious spiritual ramifications that we need to understand.
As a result of my sexual abuse in childhood, my teenage years were spent looking for love in all the wrong places. Even though my parents were not believers, my mom still tried to reason with her boy-crazy wild child of a daughter to encourage me to be a “good girl.” And I was hell-bent on rebelling against anything my parents suggested, so promiscuity was the order of the day. I cannot blame anyone else for my teenage years, but the fact was it definitely was pervasive in my family of origin. Simply put, my father was a good looking, smooth talking womanizer and for the last 40 years of his marriage he had a mistress while he remained married to my mother. So my pre-Jesus life and heritage was pretty much riddled with promiscuity, but even in my post-Jesus life I struggled. In my book, Consumed by Success, I told the story of thinking I fell in love with a man who was not my husband. A married man pursued me to the point of it nearly ending up in an affair. It did not, physically anyways. But it certainly did in my mind. His over-the-top attempt to lure me into a sexual relationship with him flattered me to the point that my reasoning left me. And I was a born again believer at that time in my life!
An idol is any person, object or activity you give a higher priority in your life than a relationship with Jesus. Any and all things that we become addicted to, that we can’t live without, that we allow to be master over us, constitute idolatry. I dare say I allow caffeine to become an idol in my life, not able to go a day without a Starbucks venti Pike Place drip with cream and sweet and low for fear of a monstrous headache! But how many other things besides our wounding in life do we make idols out of? I know at times in my life I have struggled with quite a few of the idols I’m listing below…and I promise, this is not an exhaustive list:
PRIDE AND EGO
SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
FACEBOOK / SOCIAL MEDIA / WIRELESS DEVICES
FOOD / BOTH EXTREMES – GLUTTONY AND STARVATION
DESIRE TO BE INFLUENTIAL
ADDICTIONS (ILLEGAL AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, ALCOHOL, GAMBLING, PORNOGRAPHY, CAFFEINE, WHITE SUGAR)
I’M SURE MANY OF YOU COULD HELP ME ADD TO THIS LIST, AND I’D LOVE FOR YOU TO COMMENT ON THAT.
I share my own experience with all three areas to be transparent… to show that it’s OK to admit our shortcomings and failures and how we struggle. My goodness. Let’s look at the verse again. In Hosea 4:11 it says that harlotry, wine and new wine takes away the heart, mind and spiritual understanding…when I think about my detour into deception, where I spent 12 years believing a lie was the truth…I’d say the only way I could have ended up there was because I’d lost all spiritual understanding and just didn’t know it! It really is only by walking in the light that we are able to actually have fellowship with one another and experience the cleansing blood of Jesus. (1 John 1:7).
BUT LET’S MOVE ON TO SEE HOW WE’VE BEEN ROBBED.
“FOR THE SPIRIT OF HARLOTRY HAS LED THEM ASTRAY, AND THEY HAVE PLAYED THE HARLOT, WITHDRAWING THEMSELVES FROM SUBJECTION TO THEIR GOD.” HOSEA 4:12 (AMP)
How are we led astray? We develop effective ways to numb the pain in our hearts, and find solace in other places where God doesn’t want us. Because we have opened up a door to the enemy, because we’ve made idols of our wounds, because of the generational open doors as well as our own sins, we have been led astray.
PLAYING THE HARLOT
So do we really play, or become like, the harlot? I know it’s a difficult thing to admit, but I know there have been times in my life when God has been trying to deal with me about something painful, that I’d rather avoid, and instead of being still and allowing Him room in my life to convict me of sin and bring me to repentance, I’ll jump on Facebook or decide I need to check my email, or hide myself in a novel! I’m choosing a meaningless idol to give my affections to instead of the Lover of my soul. Yes, I’d call that playing the “spiritual harlot”.
And how do we withdraw ourselves from subjection to God? Well, simply put, we rebel. We make a choice to disregard His Word and go our own way. We push aside that still, small voice and embrace that idol…that activity that gives us a thrill, comfort, or a sense of accomplishment. We justify in our minds that it’s okay, it’s not really that big of a deal. We harden our hearts and walk away from God instead of running into His arms for the comfort we so desperately need.
JUST THIS MORNING THE LORD WAS CONVICTING ME OF SOME AREAS IN MY LIFE WHERE I’VE WITHDRAWN MYSELF FROM SUBJECTION TO HIM. QUITE HONESTLY, I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING WE WILL ALWAYS STRUGGLE WITH UNTIL WE MEET HIM FACE TO FACE, SO THE NEED TO STAY IN CLOSE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM AND WITH OUR SISTERS IN CHRIST IN ORDER TO KEEP THAT PRECIOUS BLOOD CLEANSING US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IS VITAL.
Oh Lord, I pray that You would give each of us a heart of flesh, one that is soft towards Your voice and your beckoning to come to You rather than running to other things. Help us to open up our hearts to you and to those around us who are safe, so we can experience Your healing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.