Monday, May 07, 2018

Spirit of harlotry

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Hosea1-5; Psalm 122

TO CHEW ON: "For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray. And they have played the harlot against their God." Hosea 4:12b

"Harlot" is a word we don't use a lot. It simply means an unchaste woman, a whore, a strumpet. "Harlotry" is the trade or behaviour of a harlot.

I am struck by the phrase "spirit of harlotry" in our reading. Hosea points his finger at that spirit or attitude as the underlying cause of Israel's straying. A close look at Hosea 3 and 4 give us information about such a spirit. Here are some of its characteristics:

1. God's law is ignored (Hosea 4:2,6).

2. There is an impact on the natural world of earth and animals (Hosea 4:3).

3. Respect for leaders is absent, replaced by argument and contention (Hosea 4:4-5).

4. Evil multiplies (Hosea 4:7).

5. Dissatisfaction is typical (Hosea 4:10).

6. Addiction is everywhere (Hosea 4:11).

7. People seek advice from occult sources (Hosea 4:12).

8. There is a proliferation of idolatrous customs and rituals (Hosea 4:13).

9. Both men and women are affected (Hosea 4:13b, 14).

10. A rebellious spirit rules the land (Hosea 4:16-18).

As I read that list and look at my own country, I am not reassured. It is uncanny how many of these attitudes are typical of Canada. Do you see any of these characteristics where you live?

What to do? Besides resisting these things in our own lives, I believe we need to focus our prayers against that spirit of harlotry in our own nation. Dick Eastman in his book Love on Its Knees says about praying for nations: "When praying for a nation, we should try to determine which satanic strongholds exist there, then exercise our God-given spiritual authority to confront these bastions."

He lists some general areas of strongholds and how to pray for them.

1. Government strongholds. Intercessors should pay special attention to the political characteristics of a nation...

2. Cultural strongholds. Every nation possesses behavioural characteristics. Collectively we refer to these as the culture of a people, and in some cases such characteristics restrict the spread of the Gospel....

3. Religious strongholds. This focus touches the spiritual characteristics of a land... In some countries of the world today it is virtually impossible to engage in open evangelism because of the religious restrictions...

4. Material strongholds. A final focus regarding strongholds in nations concerns the materialistic characteristics of a land. Some nations appear to be free and have experienced prosperity. Yet there is often lukewarmness in the churches of those nations. Soon apathy toward spiritual things moves a people toward humanism which puts the emphasis on human development and rejects spiritual values...." - Dick Eastman, Love On Its Knees pp. 110-112.

The result of this harlotry spirit for Israel was God's sober warning: "I will destroy your mothers ...forget your children...change their glory into shame" (Hosea 4: 5-7). The nation will be characterized by futility: "The wind has wrapped her up in its wings..." Hosea 4:19.

Let's pray for a turning from the spirit of harlotry in our land, lest we find ourselves setting up for the same fate.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to resist the spirit of harlotry in my own life. Then help me to see my country and people realistically and with spiritual insight so I can pray effectively and be salt and light in the ways You direct. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 122
The Bible Project VIDEO: Hosea (Read Scripture Series)

Andrew Peterson has written a powerful song called "Hosea." Hosea - the song - from Andrew Peterson's blog, with the lyrics

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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