Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adultery & Idolatry

Why the 3-part series on The Shack is such a serious matter:

“For she said, I will go after my lovers,
that give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax,
mine oil and my drink.”

(Hosea 2:5b)

Those who are guilty of whoredom usually grow extremely willful. “She said, I WILL go.” As if she had said, Let all the prophets say what they can, let them talk out their very hearts, I will have my mind, I will follow my lovers still.

Of those who commit this sin bodily, it is said, Prov. 2:19, “None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.” It is a most dreadful Scripture against all adulterers and unclean persons: make it out how you will, there is “none that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.” These are the words of the Holy Ghost: I leave the words with you.

So Prov. 23:27, “A whore is a deep ditch, and a strange woman is a narrow pit;” they cannot easily get out, nor will they easily get out, they are so plunged in. “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin,” 2 Pet. 2:14. Why cannot they cease to sin? It is not because they have a heart but no power, but their wills are brought into that bondage and subjection that they cannot will otherwise; therefore in Ezek. 47:11, we find that though the waters of the sanctuary were very healing, yet the miry places and the marshes were not healed: miry, filthy, unclean hearts are very seldom healed by the waters of the sanctuary.

AElian reports, that there was a harlot who boasted she could easily get scholars away from Socrates, but Socrates could get no scholars from her, none of her followers. It is true that a harlot is prevalent, and when she has once overcome, it is almost impossible to get away from her. Therefore Heb. 6:6, which speaks of that sin from which it is impossible to be renewed again to repentance, is interpreted by Tertullian to be no other than the sin of uncleanness. The author of this Epistle (saith he) knew no promise of second repentance to the adulterer and fornicator; showing how ordinarily those that are guilty of that sin, and are given up to it, grow willful in it. And therefore in Eph. 4:19, these two are put together,
“being past feeling,” and “having given themselves over unto lasciviousness.” Wantons usually grow past feeling.

And for spiritual adultery, that usually is very willful too, for those who are left by God to superstition and idolatry, seldom return again, but grow exceeding willful in that wickedness. You have a notable text for that, Jer. 44:16,17; the people say there, “As for the word thou has spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee; but we will do whatsoever cometh out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven.” We will go on to burn incense to the queen of heaven, talk as long as you will. And so Jer. 2:10-12, “Pass over,” saith God, “the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods?”

Men are settled in the ways of idolatry, and will never give over worshipping their gods: “but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit:” therefore, “be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.” So Micah 4:5, “All people will walk every one in the name of his god.” Their hearts are set upon it, they WILL do it.

Spiritual whoredom mightily besots the heart. Isa. 44:19,20, “None considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge and understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it; and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? ...Is there not a lie in my right hand?" And so Rev. 16:11, where those who were given up to Antichrist, though they were tormented they “blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and they repented not of their deeds."...

Willfulness in any sin, but especially in this sin, is a very great aggravation of it. “I will have no mercy upon thee,” I will give them up; why? They have done shamefully, and they have said, “I will go after my lovers.” There are many who, in their passion, think it a brave spirit to say, I will, and I will, and I care not, say what you can, or whatever becomes of it, I will do, or I will have this.…

There is nothing wherein God pours out His wrath upon the children of men in this world, more than in giving them up to their will. Therefore, tremble when thou usest so many expressions, I will, and I will do this. Observe what the Scripture saith of those who had their will in ways of false worship; “Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if you will not hearken unto me,” Ezek 20:39. Go, saith God, you will not hearken to Me; you hear out of the word what should be the way of my worship in its purity, but you say, I love novelty, and you will not have it thus; you answer not God’s arguments, but you cast off His worship, and say you will not hear Me, if you are set your will, to and serve your idols, and take your fill of your own ways.

Psalm 81:11,
“My people would not hearken to My voice, and Israel would none of Me;” they were all upon their will, they would not and they would not. Mark what follows; “so I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts, and they walked in their own counsels.” You will have your own counsels, and your own will, and so God gives you up to them; and then woe to you, you are undone!...

If you will be resolute in any thing, my brethren, be resolute in that which is good; be resolute in the work of repentance, with David, Psalm 32:5, “I will confess my transgressions.” Indeed, I had many thoughts, to come and shame myself, and open all unto God, but I could not get it off; at length I grew resolute and said, I will, and I have sworn to keep thy righteous precepts: and as they, sworn to keep thy righteous precepts: and as they, Micah 4:5, “We will walk in the name of the Lord our God:” and as Joshua, I and my house will serve the Lord. This is a blessed willfulness indeed. Oh that the stoutness and willfulness of many people might be turned to this resolution for God and for His truth!

The Truth:

"Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." (Proverbs 30:20)

The above quotation excerpted from Jeremiah Burroughs, An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea (Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), pp. 81-82. This is a 700-page, circa 1600s commentary on the book of Hosea. Some. but not all, spellings were altered to fit modern usage, and reformatting and links were done for blog usage. This quotation concludes the 3-part Herescope series on "The Consequence of Role-Reversals in The Shack" by Pastor Larry DeBruyn here, here and here, including his earlier review here. See also Warren Smith's article "THE SHACK & Its New Age Leaven."