The Gospel Works On Sexuality — Guest Speaker: Pastor Garrett Soucy, Christ the King Church, Belfast, Maine

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The Gospel Works On Sexuality, Pastor Garrett Soucy from

Christ the King Church, Belfast, Maine

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Ezekiel 23; Song of Solomon 7

September 22, 2019

 

Ezekiel 23 is the most sexually explicit passage in the Bible. Most people assume that Song of Songs is the culprit, but at least there, the reality is understood in metaphor and poetry.

 

Ezekiel 23:1-49 . Israel's and Judah's sin and punishment are parabolically portrayed under the names Aholah and Aholibah.

The imagery is similar to that in the sixteenth chapter; but here the reference is not so much to the breach of the spiritual marriage covenant with God by the people's idolatries, as by their worldly spirit, and their trusting to alliances with the heathen for safety, rather than to God.

 

There is another significant difference between Song of Songs and Ezekiel 23. Song of Songs is a celebration of sexuality (unless you bend over backwards to spiritualize it). Ezekiel 23 is an explicit condemnation of rampant lust. Solomon’s language was intended to evoke beauty and desire. Ezekiel tried his best to offend his hearers. He shocked them with a sexually explicit parable to get them to open their eyes to the true story of their own history.

 

The Israelites had self-medicated themselves for years with stories of their faithfulness to God and God’s reciprocal care for them. A large number of exiles probably thought that their exile was related to Yahweh’s unfaithfulness to them—as absurd as that sounds.

 

Ezekiel’s history of Israel sounds like this: Two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, represent Israel and Judah’s two main cities, Samaria and Jerusalem. Oholah (Samaria) was the first to play the whore with the Assyrians and anyone who would pay attention to her. Because Oholah ignored her husband, Yahweh, he delivered her into the hands of her former lovers who killed her mercilessly. Her sister Oholibah (Jerusalem) lasted a little bit longer, but she was even more depraved. Instead of learning form her sister’s mistakes, Oholibah was even more wanton than her sister. She played the whore with the Egyptians, moved on to the Babylonians, and then returned for more with the Egyptians. Like her sister, her husband gave her into the hands of her lovers who stripped her naked and slaughtered her as well. “They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall bear the penalty of your sinful idolatry; and you shall know that I am the Lord GOD” (v. 49).

 

Ezekiel’s point was hard to miss. From the time of their slavery in Egypt, the Israelites flirted with the foreign nations. Nothing had changed.

By Stephen Barkley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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