Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come; yet you have the forehead of a whore; you refuse to be ashamed. (Jeremiah 3:3)
The Forehead Of A Prostitute
Language is a powerful tool God uses to impact the message of His righteousness and the depravity of sinful man. Sometimes the words are straightforward and demonstrative, and no time is this ever-present than the final days of Israel through the voice of the prophets. It was a period of rebellion as the chosen seed of Abraham immersed itself in the whoredom of the nations around them, refusing to change and listen to the voice of the prophets. Men like Jeremiah pleaded with the leaders, priests, and common man to return to the Lord before the final judgment of wrath would come. There was little repentance in the heart of the people. Jeremiah was one of the last great prophets who witnessed the final forty years of the once exalted nation of Israel. His message was simple and defined by the people’s attitudes: Jerusalem, the holy city of God, was doomed.
King Josiah would bring a breath of spiritual renewal to the nation, but this was short-lived as the nation plunged into moral disintegration until the city of Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C. Jeremiah saw the fall of God’s people and the disgrace of a sinful nation carried to the land of Babylon. No one could blame the Lord for their plight because He had repeatedly warned them what would happen if they refused to repent. Moses had inscribed in the law the penalties for disobeying the word of the Lord, such as drought, famine, pestilence, and invading armies coming in among the people of God. Elijah, the prophet, had prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. God had withheld the rain in the days of Jeremiah, but this did nothing to change the people’s hearts. Jeremiah concluded the nation had the forehead of a prostitute who refused to be ashamed of their rebellion.
The language was not lost on Israel. As the Beloved of God, Israel had played the harlot with other nations. Through the prophet Hosea, God demonstrated his love for Israel. Yet, the people’s propensity to continue to make its bed with the nations around them continued unabated. The Assyrians destroyed the northern ten tribes of Israel and should have served as a further warning of what was coming for the remaining tribes, but again the message fell on deaf ears. There was no sorrow, guilt, shame, or repentance from rebellious Israel. Jeremiah described the nation as a harlot’s forehead with no shame for her actions’ putridity.
Blushing is one of the emotions instilled by the hand of the Creator to impress the hearts of the humble with the seriousness of sinful actions. When Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, the immediate reaction was shame at their nakedness accompanied by fear as they hid from the presence of God. Soon, men would learn not to fear God, and their shame would turn to pleasure. In the days of Noah, there was no blushing at sin because the hearts of men were hardened through the deceitfulness of fleshly passions, evil desire, and corrupt spirits. In the final days of Israel, men like Jeremiah boldly preached the word of repentance to hearts that were callused with unrighteousness and ungodliness. The word of the Lord was just as powerful as it had been in times past but what changed was the reaction of the people to ignore the message of God’s judgment.
Israel had become hard-hearted and refused to listen to the word of judgment. Like the forehead of a prostitute who brazenly continues on her path of sin without shame, remorse, or guilt, the people of God refused to listen to the preaching of the prophets. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, and others preached a message of judgment to deaf ears that would not hear and would not obey. The preaching did not fail – the people failed. Like a harlot’s forehead, the hearts of the people would not listen and pay the final penalty. Many years later, the apostle Paul would remind the saints in Rome that what was written in the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms were given to admonish, exhort and rebuke the hearts of the rebellious. The cycle of rebellion had come full circle, and its path of destruction continues in every generation.
Preaching the gospel of Christ is not unlike the preaching of the prophets and men like Jeremiah. Each generation is afforded the grace of God to hear the words of salvation, and like Israel of old, so often, the hearts are turned away from the hard preaching of repentance. Sadly, among the people of God, there is no shame and modesty. Living in a world that worships the body, children of God parade themselves in less and less clothing without any embarrassment. Sin is no longer viewed as something to disdain as the acceptance of the works of the flesh is embraced with greater frequency. Sexual sins like fornication and adultery are approved as part of the social fabric.
Lying, cheating, dishonesty, and fraud describe the business practices and personal accounts of those who profess a belief in the Son of God. Pornography is rampant throughout the church as more and more hearts are turned into ways of sexual pleasure. Marriages are not happy as men and women fight, scream, abuse, and neglect one another. Divorce is common. Obedience to the will of the Lord is ignored. Preachers will preach hard lessons that are disregarded. Shepherds of the flock admonish, rebuke, and encourage souls who refuse to submit to the role of spiritual leaders. Churches are filled with worldliness and pleasure, refusing to tolerate preaching and teaching that challenge the norms. There are many foreheads of harlots that refuse to be ashamed. The cycle continues, and men like Jeremiah preach the message of repentance in the face of those who refuse to repent.
What we learn from the history of Israel is the principle of man’s repeated failure to learn from his past. God has remained unchanged since the beginning of time and will not tolerate a rebellious spirit. If the Lord warned and punished the nation of Israel as described in the Old Testament, what would make anyone believe He has changed His mind on dealing with sin today? The foreheads of harlots will discover too late the longsuffering of God will come to an end, and judgment will take place. Have the mind of Christ instead of the harlot’s forehead.