It all started in Exodus 20 when God decided in his infinite wisdom that the Israelites will be better off with a set of rules to guide them, as they enter and take over the Promised Land. That to me, was when sin entered the world and propagated itself, not minding the original sin of disobedience that started with Adam. As Apostle Paul will make us understand in Romans 7, the unexpected consequence of the law is the establishment of sin.
So for just cause, we can only assume, God mandates that Priests should not marry harlots (Leviticus 21:7 & 14). Many can live with that law, at least it makes sense from a moral perspective. The latter action of Delilah to Samson and the evil that Jezebel unleashed in Israel in the days of King Ahab would justify God’s instruction that men should steer clear of harlots. But then, we come to Prophet Hosea and the same God commands him to marry a harlot. Yes, you read the statement right, he received instructions from God to marry a wife of whoredom and bear children of whoredom. Same God, same Israel but a different instruction.
So some will ask why is this important? It is important because the adherent of the faith that claims to know God may well be in danger of hell on judgement day. It’s easy to visualize how the religious council in Hosea days might well have alienated him for blasphemy, heresy as well. The Prophet must be very high on some earlier form of Ilaro weeds.
And then we remember Caiaphas, the eminent High Priest. One cannot but just pity this man, upon whom fell the burden to get Jesus convicted to fulfil a prophecy. He didn’t raise the mob against Jesus out of anything else but from a deep conviction that Jesus was heretic and not the son of God. How could he be? He came wining and dining with sinners, he is not of a royal lineage (not even a Levite), he was turning all the known sayings of the law and prophets up-side-down. The laws of Moses were clear, a woman caught in adultery must be stoned. Yet, this self-acclaimed Messiah will shy away from obeying the law, choosing rather that those without sin should cast the first stone. Any of us, and many of our modern day religious leader, who could have been present at Jesus’s days will take a similar stance – crucify him!
Of course there was also the issue of Saul. He wasn’t a nobody, he had studied law at the feet of Gamaliel and was also a Roman citizen, that should count for some enlightenment. Saul was also convinced that these fanatics, adherent of a religion antagonistic of Judaism, were heretics. Not until he met Jesus in the Damascus experience did he have a turnaround. Even then, those with him, devoid of a similar encounter, must have looked at him with some disdain. An early onset of Parkinson’s disease or a brain tumour would have been presumed was the cause for his sudden turnaround.
Then we encounter Simon, son of Jonah, busy doing the Lord’s calling, praying upon a roof top. That was the exact point that God chose to appear to him, bearing in a net all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. Peter obviously was in a dilemma as he had read and internalise the law in Leviticus 11. He must have thought to himself, this could only be the Devil at work, so get thee hence from me Satan. God has instructed that Jews should abhor these food items so why would he be asking me to rise up and eat them? It is time to be careful, something the Prophet in 1 Kings 13:26 failed to do and led to his death. But God, has a surprise package for him, saying “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common?” He then went to Cornelius’ house, baptising him and his family, they not being Jews. By this time, I guess the church must be in a turmoil, how dare Peter. Does he think he is the only one that hears from God? It is better left imagined the enormity of opposition, challenge possibly, that Peter must have faced in explaining to the religious adherent why he did what he did (V.28).
With these examples, my point is we need to be extremely careful the way we approach God and the Christianity religion that we so hold dear. We need to beware of those that claim to know God and that his laws are absolute. The reason why he is God is that he is not accountable to any of us and can do as he pleases, working in mysterious ways. The God that brought Jesus to the world through the harlotry of Tamar and Rahab defies human reasoning.
Let us pray