Lust & FantasyPornography

When the Bible is Your Porn

I got over Song of Solomon a while ago.  It is easy for me to hold that up as a beautiful representation of God-honoring sexuality.  Recently, I started reading a new translation of the Bible, and I must say:

There’s a lot of sex in the Old Testament.

And it’s not the PG-13 Adam “knew” his wife and she conceived stuff either.

Throughout the Old Testament records of God’s dealings with Israel, He uses very graphic sexual analogies to prove a point.  Israel is often called the harlot (the whore), and her turning her back on Jehovah is playing the whore (adultery).

The other day, I was reading through one of the prophets (who will go unnamed).  I came across a phrase that used animals to refer to the size of a man’s *ahem* “member.”  I am pretty certain the color drained from my face, and a floodgate in my mind ripped open.  It triggered memories from some of my darkest moments in pornography, in one of the deepest most extreme fetishes I had encountered.

I had to stop reading.  I almost felt guilty for reading it.  Then I felt guilty for feeling guilty.  It’s the Bible for crying out loud, how can you feel guilty for reading the Bible?  This wasn’t some rogue TV program; it was the Bible.  How twisted do I have to be to stumble over the Bible!?

I’ve been talking about sex, pornography, and lust openly for four years now.  I am comfortable talking about it all (in a decent way of course).  If I still struggle with reading such graphic parts of the Bible, what must that struggle be like for women still in the midst of their struggle with lust?

But, it’s the Bible.  What do we do when the Bible is our pornography?  

Normally, if a woman said, “I struggle when I watch this, or when I read that,” I would tell her to get rid of whatever “this” or “that” is.  I tell people to get rid of things that flirt with their weaknesses.  We need to protect them, not aggravate them.

When it comes to Scripture, we’re going to assume that ‘stop reading it’ is not an option.  We need the Word of God, in its entirety.  We shouldn’t skip over parts because they are “boring” or seem irrelevant.  It is all good for us, pointing us toward a faithful Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.  We need to stay in touch with His Word.

When the Bible starts getting a little too hot to handle:

1.  It’s OK to find it offensive.  Sometimes I think the problem is I can imagine what is happening, because I have those images in my mind.  So, perhaps I find this symbolism even more offensive to the mind.  It invokes mental images that can be far less than pleasant or wanted.

This is especially true with reference to the nation of Israel.  The terms used were meant to be offensive.  They were meant to be crude.  Saying, “Well, that wasn’t very nice of you to do that” doesn’t quite have the same punch as, “You have played the whore with other lovers.”  It is strong graphic imagery that is meant to offend the mind.  Think about how He says iniquity will be cast off like a menstrual cloth (ew!).

2.  See God’s heart in it.  God doesn’t offend just for the sake of offending.  When He uses such imagery toward Israel, it is in response to an offense against Him.  He is trying to get them to understand how He views what they have done.  He wants them to understand their own wretchedness, and almost always follows up such imagery with an expression of His mercy.  He is heartbroken by their sin, and is trying to rescue them!

3.  Stop if you need to.  There is no chapter and verse that dictates how many chapters and verses you need to read every day.  Fact is, if you can’t curb the struggle, you’re no longer getting anything from the Word, and might need to switch to prayer.  Take a deep breath and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see this passage the way God sees it.

I will confess, the other day, I had to do that.  I had to stop, and distract myself by prayer journaling because closing my eyes to pray was proving dangerous.  I spent most of the day meditating on why God would include a passage like that in the Bible.  That’s where this post came from.

4.  If you can’t go back to that part just yet, go somewhere else.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and toss the entire Bible because of some strong symbolism.  Switch to some other book, but keep praying for the ability to go back and read that ‘problem passage’ through the eyes of God.

Perhaps the most important thing is to find yourself in the story.  Imagery like this can be hard for us because we have played the whore, maybe not with our bodies, but with our hearts, and our minds.  We have been unfaithful.  Symbolism like this can hit close to home for us, but remember, He almost always follows it up with an offer of mercy and grace.  If nothing else, read it for that.

Read it for the truth that there is a Saviour, Lover, and Redeemer who longs to purify your heart and your mind, so that you can love Him with your heart and your mind.

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3 comments

  1. Jessica, thanks so much for sharing this!! I appreciate your honesty so much. I’ve been reading through your blog and I’ve been hugely blessed by your testimony and continued vulnerability. I would love to talk to you more about it. Here’s my latest post: http://tammygrrrl.com/the-wreck-that-i-am/

    1. Tammy,

      Thanks! I read through part of your blog. Your daughter is precious. I LOVE science; she and I would totally get along. Shoot me an e-mail when you have a minute. We’ll chat 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. lol I actually came across this prophet during my own study of the word a few years ago. I was shocked at first, but, considering the context, it is a detailed description of the whoredom of Israel. The Lord meant to startle them, in helping them realize their wickedness.