Quitting The World’s Oldest Profession

A few years ago, I spent a week speaking at the Youth With A Mission base in Las Vegas. During my stay, I met a woman who was trying to launch a ministry to the many prostitutes who work in the city.

“After doing a little research,” she explained to me, “I discovered that 10,000 women work the streets of Las Vegas.”

I was astounded.

Although it has been hit by the recession of late, prostitution points to a longing all of us share. In fact, a friend of mine who used to frequent prostitutes once told me, “When I used to solicit prostitutes, what I valued more than sex was the opportunity to be held by someone.”

Like me, you may have never solicited the services of a woman (or man) of the evening, but you may have sought acceptance or fulfillment through a job, a relationship, or a possession.

Nevertheless, in many ways it resemble prostitution.

Join me today to learn more about quitting the world’s oldest profession.

TODAY’S READING

1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81
Acts 26:1-32
Psalm 6:1-10
Proverbs 18:20-21

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81. You’ll notice that the chapter about the Levites is exceptionally long. The Chronicler was trying to emphasize the importance of the centrality of worship in everyday life. Remember, this was written after the people of Judah returned from exile in Babylon. So, they were reexamining where they had gone wrong and how they could avoid history from repeating itself.

Acts 26:1-32. Paul deeply believed in the power of his message. While on trial, he used the opportunity to try to convince King Agrippa that Jesus, the messiah, had risen from the dead. He thought nothing of self-preservation. We can learn from Paul, who repeatedly shared his story about his encounter with Jesus. This was the third time in the book of Acts that we read this story (also in chapters 9 and 22). People can argue philosophy and theology, but no one can argue an encounter with Jesus.

While respectful of the king, Paul was surprisingly direct!

Most interesting of all, Paul could have been released had he not appealed to Caesar. Without a doubt, he hoped that his appeal would give him an opportunity to share his story with the most powerful man in the world.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

As the Chronicler recounts the settlement of the half-tribe of Manasseh, he adds this editorial comment:

But they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them (1 Chronicles 5:25).

God created you to enjoy a relationship of intimacy with him. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, God wired you for relationship.

Think about it: the Trinity comprises a relationship of three—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is a God of relationship. In turn, we were formed in the image of the relational God, created for not just any kind of relationship, but a relationship of intimacy that can only be compared to the sexual union shared between a husband and wife. It’s a relationship that is protected by a commitment to fidelity, deepened by taking the risk of vulnerability, and grounded in a pledge of covenant love.

Prostitution offers none of these. It is neither faithful, vulnerable, nor committed.

Prostitution thinks only of itself and what it can get out of the other person. Covenant love finds life by giving itself away.

In the same way, God longs for the give and take of healthy intimacy. All too often, though, we opt for the “take” part in a relationship, thinking only of ourselves and forfeiting intimacy with God in the process.

Friends, rather than settle for the shallowness of idolatry, I invite you to choose the better, more satisfying way.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. In what ways do people prostitute themselves to the gods of this age?
  3. What prevents you from drawing closer to God in intimacy?
  4. What has helped you draw closer in intimacy with God?

What does intimacy with God look like in your life?

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www.bibleconversation.com

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Quitting The World’s Oldest Profession

  1. Kathleen

    This is an interesting topic and one that is on my mind quite a bit lately.

    I believe that it is our own right-wing agenda that keeps us from “allowing” prostitution as a legitimate business. I know that God designed women to be the nurturers, the healers, the listeners, and the lovers. If you have touched a woman’s body, you know that it is much different than a man’s.man

    God used a prostitute in the Old Testament. We learn of Tamar. Did Tamar stop her profession after her assignment? The Word is silent on this.

    We all long to be held and touched. I heard a man once say that he didn’t hire a prostitute to show up, he hired her to go away. Isn’t that interesting? With the covenant of marriage, it isn’t easy to have your wife “go away”. And not that you would want it.

    With women who are not educated, skilled at a trade, had the opportunity to further their education or otherwise live an even decent lifestyle, legalized prostitution (or even illegal prostitution) offers a way for them to provide for themselves and/or their children.

    Other cultures embrace prostitution as a legitimate business. In Amsterdam, for example, there is the Red Light District. A man/woman/couple can simply walk along the shop windows and pick out the woman with whom he/she/they would like to spend time with. The services are negotiated, the time is limited and the money of course is exchanged. When she is done with that client (or he), he/she waits for the next client — not unlike a lawyer, accountant, doctor, psychologist or the like.

    Yes, we were all made for relationship. But when we are lonely, and let’s face it, this is a lonely world, prostitution offers the human touch and possible temporary human connection that keeps us from dying.

    • Kathleen, I apologize for taking so long to get your comment online. I was out of town for a week and wasn’t able to approve it until just now.

      Regarding your response: I appreciate your concern for women who have few means of supporting themselves. Although my life has never reached the low ebb of many who find this profession as their only means of support, I can partly understand their decision.

      Your point about God using a prostitute is well taken. Fortunately (for all of us), God can use anyone–regardless of their past or present. “God uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines” a friend once told me.

      Most assuredly, though, I have a hard time understanding how it fits into God’s best for anyone. The stories of human sex trafficking and forced prostitution make my heart break, much less the number of broken marriages that result from spouses who cheat on their wives. Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, that a couple who marries is “no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Prostitution is one of those things that is very effective at “separating”.

      A great deal of this goes back to our theology of sex. If it’s merely a physical act between two consenting people, then go for it. But from my perspective on the Bible, sexual intercourse is sacred–a gift from God–that points to the union between Jesus and his bride, the church.

      Nevertheless, I appreciate you sticking out your neck and offering your perspective on a sensitive topic. You’re a brave woman, Kathleen! Feel free to keep the conversation going!

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