Five-dollar Hooker

I read through the book of Hosea recently -a story which has always been intriguing to me- and have since been mulling it over. There are so many things about Hosea’s story that are beautiful and tragic and so very straight to the point. God sure doesn’t pull punches.
The book of Hosea tells the story of the prophet Hosea, whom God called to give the nation of Israel a message about repentance. He even gave them a nice little object lesson in the shape of Hosea and his family.
God told Hosea to marry a prostitute, and so he did. But his wife, Gomer, was not faithful to him, and continually ran off with other men or returned to prostitution. God instructed Hosea to win his wife back (and he actually ended up needing to literally buy her from someone).
Essentially, the story of Hosea’s own family parallels the message God had for Israel: He was telling Israel that they were being prostitutes, that they were cheating on Him with all their other idols.

I like the frank language of this book, and the message that really applies to all of us. We are whores. We don’t want to be committed, we want to sleep around. And we do. We find so many ways, both easy and hard, to cheat on God. We find a myriad of things to put our hope and trust in, to hang our hats on and live our highs and lows by. We throw ourselves into work, into relationships. We distract ourselves. We do more overt things like eating away our emotions, finding our comfort in sex or booze, or purposely losing ourselves in tv, movies and video games.
We all have our drug of choice.

In Hosea 6:6, God says to Israel:

“I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.”

But following rules and offering sacrifices for our sins is simpler. Knowing and trusting God, that’s a harder command to follow. There are other “gods” out there that don’t ask for our trust. Don’t ask for our hearts. Don’t ask us to do hard things. We can choose to lose ourselves, choose to find our comfort apart from the Lord, choose to open our arms to the anesthetizing offers of the world.
In that vein, I started crafting a poem inspired by the message of Hosea. This is a commentary on both the sin I see in myself, and the sin I see in all of us –one that takes our sins, and our “little” rebellions, and lays them out as what they are, a full-faced refusal to rely on the Lord.

“I have dirt in my fingers, bruises on my back.
I’ll sell you my soul, you don’t even have to ask.

We prostitute ourselves to whatever is at hand,
to the books and the songs, to righting the wrongs,
we take slavery
over the Promised Land.
Finding our truths on dime-store shelves
we whore our souls to every corner John,
seeking simple comforts that never last long.

I am eager for any opportunity
to forget the gap,
between His healing touch and my broken back.

We wait on our knees, eager to please, prayers on the edges
of mouths.
Palms in the air and salt on our lips, we profess
confessing hearts, but we’re addicts to the quick fix.
Running from surrender, we take the reins by turning tricks.
This erroneous control is better than conceding
powerlessness.

You can buy my body to assuage my guilt,
I want a price on my head, heavy with silt.
I would rather wear my sins than let Him sacrifice.

We count our blessings on paycheck stubs,
add our freckle faced family under sun soaked skies
to the list of idolatries we’ve couched in “happilies.”
We shroud our hearts in subterfuge,
like our too tall houses wrapped with white picket fences.
Don’t ask for my repentance, I have five fingers wrapped firmly
around my independence.

I take the ten-minute commitments that come with a tip,
refusing the love that I find too strict.
My lovers beat me until I am too weak to limp,
but I cover the bruises and I paint my lips,
because I’m a five-dollar hooker, and the world is my pimp.”

Fortunately for us, God’s message doesn’t end there. He offers us forgiveness if we are willing to turn-tail and get on our knees, “you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always” (Hosea 12:6). He is not satisfied with our platitudes, and He sure as hell is not pleased by our rebellion: “You will be destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper. Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take these words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Nothing else can save us but You. We will never again say ‘our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion’” (13:9 and 14:1-3).
And God responds extremely more mercifully than I ever would: “I will heal their waywardness, and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” (14:4).
It is really when I can see myself as broken as I am, that I can sincerely be grateful for God’s compassion towards me. I cannot dispute my status as a sinner –I lie, I cheat, I hide, I drink, I resent,  or I have done so in the past.  It seems like I will take almost any opportunity to be defiant. I admit that our struggles tangle with our sins, and I do not at all believe that struggle equates to sin, but sometimes, out of our struggle, we can sin –and that is something in itself then. That is something we all can lay claim to, should lay claim to: our sins. It’s not pretty, but it is honest. We need to be honest with where we are at, before we can hope to change. We need to find a little (or a lot) of ourselves in the prostitute on the corner.

And finally Hosea ends with this sentence: “The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Debra Brouhard · · Reply

    So powerful!! Thank you for your honest reflections of life. Thank you for sharing your brilliant gift of bringing words to life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: