Thursday, July 24, 2008

Justice for Prostitutes

To clarify -that's JustICE not JustUS -lest there be any confusion. =)

I have a Daily Bible. 365 Daily Readings in Chronological Order. What could be simpler? Today is July 24th. I am on May 12th. sigh. Oh, and that is after I skipped February, March, and most of April trying to get caught up. double sigh. But I keep plugging away.

I don't know about you but when I read the Bible, weird things jump out at me. I see the lessons and the obvious things that you'll find in commentaries, devotional books and such but sometimes the strangest things capture my attention. This could mean that I am total heretic who rips Scripture out of context and distorts it for my own purposes. I hope not. Or it could just mean that my brain (hopefully in conjunction with the Holy Spirit) works in mysterious ways. Here's what I'm pondering today.

1 Kings 3.16 Classic story where Solomon displays his God-given wisdom by discerning the true mother of a child after threatening to cut it in half. A bizarre story from beginning to end but this is what struck me today...

v.16 "Now two prostitutes came to the king..."

Did you know that already? Somehow in 3o+ years of life, I must have locked and sealed into my head the kindergarten, children's bible, G-rated version of this tale. They were prostitutes. Working girls, women of the night, streetwalkers, harlots, whores, tramps, sluts. Okay, okay, Amie. What's your point? My point is that these were women who would hardly have received a second glance from any of us, apart from a disdainful shake of the head, given their ungodly and shameful career choices; and yet, here they stand before the king, seeking justice. And God not only gives justice (clearly coupled with mercy) to the mother of this child, but He uses this incident as the first example of His divine gift of wisdom in Solomon's life. He uses this story to set the people's hearts in awe of their new king.

God is not in our box.

And this immediately turned my mind to the adulterous woman in John 8 -"caught in the very act of adultery." yikes! The Pharisees wanted justice according to the law. Jesus scatters her accusers and spares her life -giving her true justice soaked with mercy.

God is not in our box.

And then there's the Samaritan woman in John 4. Five husbands and shacked up with her current lover?! Based on what was considered "just" or right in those days, Jesus never would've even spoken to her. And yet, the Messiah reveals Himself to her and offers her living water.

God is not in our box.

In most of our "god-boxes" there is a compartment reserved for scandalous women such as these. It's the one labeled "condemnation." The young woman who aborts her baby, the promiscuous teen, the cheating wife, the teen pop star who doesn't bother wearing underwear, and so on and so on -all stand condemned under our self-appointed title of judge and jury. But Amie, sin is sin and God never lowered His standard! So, humph! You're right. He never lowered the standard...

He lowered Himself. So that side by side, hand in hand, arm in arm, face to face, we might have the strength to take one tiny step closer to the standard.

I want to live life out of the box! To lower myself and offer tender mercies to a world of people who, just like me, have "sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God." What box are you in?


Anonymous said...

Some of us who have been to seminary need to think as clearly as you. Thanks. I'd like to take some credit for the ways you articulate things, but I'm a fan just like everyone else. Yet I know that is way NOT the point of this post.

Tim - father of five, wife of one really great blogger/theologian

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

Preach It Ames.

Nancy said...

Amazing, I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible study and amazed at what she pulls out of Scripture. Amie, you just did the same thing. What a gift you've been given. Thanks for sharing. And yes, like Anonymous said, not the point of the post. The point really is truly amazing like I said at the onset. I hope I can be God's hands extended in love and mercy to those around me.

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

I think for Tim ... it might be "Business Time"

The Sexton Crew said...

I just realized that Tim called himself my "wife" -HA!!! Uh yeah, Tara, I think we need "business time" just to remember who's who in this relationship.

Going to laugh at my husband, er, wife, now.