John is given a special vision of the seductive power associated with the beast. The great prostitute and all she offers will be the downfall of MANY.
I’m going to make a confession before we go any further. I’m struggling with understanding this section. I understand the representation of sin in the woman and how she entices the world away from God. But I never have understood why the name of Babylon is associated with “her” or her profession. I have NO idea where our bible study is going today but trust the Holy Spirit will get us wherever it is He wants us to go. On that note, let’s begin.
To quote my bible helps; “Sexual immorality and spiritual immorality go hand in hand.” Babylon the great whore offers both. She entice bodily first then corrupts her “suitors” completely from there. Sin never starts out huge or ugly. It starts small and builds bit by bit until “anything goes” in the end.
Our world today has moved MILES away from embracing morality and right and wrong choices. There really are black and white choices. We have simply chosen to label our world with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” That title alone shows you where we have come, especially since that kind of thinking is accepted by the masses. No. I have never read the books or watched the movies. The subject matter is explicit enough to shine through its title and have me running the other way!
I recognize that there are times when wrong acts done for the right purpose need to be given grace. An example would be if a starving person steals a piece of bread just to survive. But even here there could be other choices made. One could ask to work for that bread instead or ask instead of taking. There are no perfect answers even here though because we live in a fallen world. In a perfect world there would be no hunger and no need to steal to be fed.
Back to the issue of sexual sin. Paul tells us that sexual sin is sin against one’s own body while all other sin is outside the body (1 Corinthians 6:18). We looked at this a while ago. We discussed how all other sins we can put a barrier between us and the object but we cannot cut off that part of our body. Even if physically removed, the brain still retains the memories of pleasure associated with that part of our anatomy. We are also created with this as part of our makeup. It is essential to our survival as a people and, when used properly, is glorifying to God.
Babylon the harlot perverts that God given part of us to fill her own needs. She lures us away from God’s design by telling us that nothing is shameful and that everything is permissible. She doesn’t stop at the beltline though. By accepting her lie of everything is permissible in one area then everything is permissible in all areas. “If I want it I can have it”, no matter what “it” is.
Sex, money, possessions, drugs, shopping, gossip, food… The list goes on forever. ALL of these things can become our “harlot.” All of these things can become our “god.” THAT is the prostitute’s power! Whatever your heart desires above God is spiritual immorality. God calls us Jesus’ Bride. If our heart belongs to another, we are impure and have prostituted ourselves to the thing that holds our heart.
When digging into today’s study I came across a website that deals with the brain and pornography. One quote from this site is especially salient to what was just shared. “[Pornography and other sexual sins] can get into a man’s heart to the place where it replaces God; it becomes an idol. And how do you know it’s an idol? When you’re in pain, you go to your idol. When you’re in need, you go to your idol. When you’re hurt, you go to your idol. When you want to celebrate, you go to your idol.” That is exactly what Babylon the harlot offers. ANYTHING your heart desires in place of God.
Satan’s goal is to put anything but God on the throne of your heart. He will start with small and seemingly insignificant sins that can be nurtured and grown into monstrous plants. Remember the mustard seed. Its principle doesn’t only apply to the Kingdom of God.
Our world is moving in the direction outlined here where all the powers here will join in the “everything is permissible” club and stand against any who think otherwise. I don’t know exactly what it is going to look like when it actually comes, but I can guarantee you it won’t be discernible as sin to those who are not paying attention to His word. It will be appealing and seem to make a lot of sense, in the beginning. Even Hitler started out sounding rational and reasoned.
Father God, thank You for pointing out idols for me when they tried to take Your throne in my heart. I don’t even want any that try and sit beside You! I want my heart to belong to You FOREVER.
Thank You Holy Spirit for convicting me when I start turning to what the world offers for my comfort. I know food is one of the things I struggle with controlling or letting it control me. I need Your help here. I don’t want to go back to “scorched earth” techniques or give in to “anything goes” mentality. Help me with balance here. I want to leave this struggle in Your hands. Help me from ever letting it “take the throne” again.
Thank You Jesus for Your restorative work in my life. This includes my sexual sin areas. You washed me and made me whole again. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Please keep this area of my life in Your hands too.
I pray for those who are blinded by Satan’s lie of “everything is permissible.” That path leads only to destruction. Bring my children back from those paths. Not all of their paths are on the “sexual” spectrum but group is. The others have bought other lies instead. Remind them that there are right and wrong choices. Once again, I leave them in Your hands.