The preacher and the prostitute
Sermon shared by Paul Cull
Summary: Godís shocking visual aid
Audience: General adults
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The preacher and the prostitute
(Part 1 of a series of 3)
We live in a world where images are important. As every school teacher will tell you, if you can combine a visual aid with your own words, you will get your message across to the children much better. It is just the same for adults. We respond to images. We respond to visual aids. And if you can combine a visual aid with sex, then youíre on to a surefire winner. Because there is no doubt that sex sells. Whether itís the moderately sanitised version used by ĎThe Suní on page three, or the more extreme stories told in ĎThe News of the Worldí, it certainly grabs peopleís attention.
The man presenting the visual aid - the prophet
And that is just where our study of the book of Hosea begins. It begins not with the story of the actress and the Bishop, but a very real visual aid about the prophet and the prostitute. Hosea, the man after whom this book is named, was a prophet. He lived in the northern part Israel in about the eighth century BC. The role of a prophet is to bring Godís word to any situation to any people. And that word or message can take all sorts of different forms. That message can be words spoken by a prophet standing on a street corner. But it can also be the visual aid that the prophet uses to illustrate Godís message. It can speak about the present just as much as looking forward to the future. It can reflect on the past just as much is it can speak to the here and now. And Hoseaís job was to bring the word of God, the message of God to the people of Israel and Judah living about two thousand eight hundred years ago. So the man presenting the visual aid is Hosea.
The shocking visual aid
Now the way that Hosea was to bring Godís word into that situation was by means of a very direct visual aid. He was told to go and get married. Perhaps that in itself was not too bad. However, what he was told to do was to go and marry a prostitute. I am a great believer in visual aids. I once took a chainsaw into church to try and get a message across. But Hoseaís visual aid is of a completely different nature. He was told to marry a prostitute. What on earth is this all about? Well, just try to imagine the situation. To avoid embarrassment, imagine that I am Hosea. And imagine that one day, I came into church and introduced to you my new wife. Imagine that she was quite obviously a prostitute, a streetwalker, a hooker. Indeed quite probably a prostitute that you knew. You would be shocked, you would be appalled, you would be offended. All of a sudden, the issues of the sex industry, the issues of sexual abuse, the issues of prostitution would no longer be at a safe distance from you, but would be right in your face. You would be forced to take notice. Your attention would have been grabbed.
And that it is what Hosea was commanded to do. V2. He was commanded to marry a prostitute to grab his nationís attention. He was commanded to marry a streetwalker to bring Godís message to his people. He was commanded to marry a hooker because that was the way that God needed to speak to his wayward people.
Now letís go back to your imagination again. Imagine that my new wife, the prostitute, has children. And imagine the first one as red hair, the second one has dark skin and curly hair, and the third one is a beautiful coffee colour.
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