A Positive Prostitute {A Response}

It’s not often that you write a response to your own article. But for the many who were apparently intrigued by the original post, I feel it necessary to “set the record straight.” I expected, when I posed the question of the “positive prostitute,” that I would eventually discover I was missing something. I did not expect that I would find myself to be completely off track. As God would have it, the body of Christ, working together properly, presses itself beautifully and powerfully on towards truth. Good thing. Because, on my own? Pretty sure I’m doomed.

If you’ve read much of my writing, you know that I challenge Christians to read the Bible with “no lenses.” And let me tell you, the most difficult lens to remove is your own. I studied this passage for weeks and months, but my initial thoughts led me in one and only one direction {lens on}. I worked hard at solving that direction, instead of ever stopping to question it.

Grab a copy of Isaiah 23:15-18 and follow me on the journey from assumption-after-assumption to lens-free.

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Background and context: Tyre is a magnificent and successful city of trade, and they know it. God punishes them for their pride, and, for seventy years, they are nothing. We pick it up at 23:15 . . .

At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: “Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”

I Assumed: God wants Tyre to be remembered. The time of judgment is over, and Tyre has now turned to the Lord. How sad it is that they have been forgotten! They must build again and gain a proper and righteous reputation!

Response: Not only would Tyre forever be an unfaithful city {compare other “Tyre” passages}, they would not have even known to turn to the Lord. The Lord revealed himself to Israel, not to Tyre.
This illustration of the prostitute reveals a woman who, no longer young and vibrant, returns to the place of her former employment only to find that no one recognizes her. It’s been a long time, and she’s changed. Things will never be the same. And so with Tyre.

At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.

I Assumed: What?! Prostitute herself? She has turned to the Lord, and she prostitutes herself? The Lord visits {restores, brings healing}, and she goes back to her prostitution? As though that’s the proper response – how can that be?
Well, maybe it just means that this city returns to its position, like a prostitute returns to her work. What?! That’s the most bizarre analogy I’ve ever heard! Everything else makes sense, but what’s this “prostitute” language all about?

Response: The Lord visits Tyre, not with restoration and healing, but with plenty of mercy. He mercifully allows Tyre to rise from her destruction to be forgotten no more. This, she doesn’t deserve. And so, like a forgotten prostitute returns, humbled and weak, to her prostitution, so Tyre, ruined and brought low, begins to revive and rebuild. And yes, Tyre chooses to return to the sin that destroyed them.

Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.

I Assumed: Now that Tyre has turned to the Lord, the work she does and the profit she receives is holy. From ashes to beauty! Her greedy spirit has been transformed into a spirit of generosity!

Response: Tyre’s merchandise and wages are no different than they were before the judgment that destroyed them. It’s just that God sees their merchandise and wages as holy. He chooses to use Tyre’s disobedience and rebellion for good and for his own glory.

Isaiah 23 is not the story of a “positive prostitute.” The prostitution here, as in the remainder of Scripture, is most assuredly “negative.” Rather, it is the story of a God who chooses to respond with judgment and destruction, mercy and redemption. In the midst of their heinous and persistent prostitution.

As for me, my mind is still wrapping itself around “Tyre: The Rebellious, Unrepentant City That God Used for His Glory.” And not “Tyre: The City That Turned to the Lord and Somehow Got Away with Prostitution.” I can be pretty slow at lens-removal.

It’s not that I thought prostitution could be positive, really. {Maybe.} This is just me on a quest to figure out what the Bible says and to believe it, no questions asked. I’m learning there will be bumps along the way. And I still say it’s the greatest journey of my life.

 [image  credit: pixabay.com]


4 thoughts on “A Positive Prostitute {A Response}

    1. Oh, you’re so sweet. Well, it was humbling to discover that I was likely on the completely wrong path! But that is the purpose of my blog – to display the joy and power of the JOURNEY. Thanks for your encouragement!

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