Sex In The Youth Group
He and his girlfriend looked forward especially to the midweek meeting. New contemporary praise that expressed in their musical style their love for Jesus and a short but cutting-edge message from their youth pastor attracted more of their friends each week. Their youth group was the new hot spot in town, and Seth and Bethany were growing spiritually. Then it all changed. Suddenly, Bethany wasn’t excited about going to the group and the light in her eyes disappeared. It took two months, but finally Beth got it out. “Our youth pastor invited me to his apartment. Said he wanted to go over an illustration for the message Wednesday night, but while I was giving him ideas, he started touching me. He got stronger and forced me to have sex with him.”
This assault by a pastor he trusted turned off his girlfriend and caused Seth to turn away from Jesus. He became cynical and decided that all the talk about sexual purity was a farce. He left the youth group and started hanging out with the kids at school experimenting at parties with alcohol, other drugs, and sex. Too bad he didn’t read Hosea 4. He would have discovered why he knew in his gut that what had happened to his girlfriend in a church group was the pit of evil and that God wouldn’t stand by passively and let this disregard of his standards go unpunished.
In the prosperous closing days of Jeroboam II’s reign in Northern Israel, God’s people were engaging in sex and they did it under the guise of worship. The hot thing to do was to go to sacred shrines at old traditional sites like Bethel (the name itself means “House of God”), but instead of worshiping the LORD, they experimented with the occult in seeking guidance about their future, engaged in promiscuous sex and thought it was getting close to the divine.
“My people seek guidance from their wooden idol and expect answers from their stick of wood. Indeed, a spirit of idolatrous immorality is causing them to stagger away from me, and they fornicate out from under the authority of their God. On the mountaintops, they hold sacrificial meals. On the hills, they burn offerings. Under oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees—trees that provide good shade-- your daughters engage in illicit sex, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. Will I not visit upon your daughters the consequences of their fornicating and upon your daughters-in-law the consequences of their adultery! Indeed, the men slip away with a sacred prostitute and offer sacrifice. A people with no wise discernment come to ruin.” Hosea 4:12-14
When Seth was in his late twenties, Mary and I got to spend time with him in Southern California where we were selling books to pay school bills. That’s how we learned his story. We pray that maybe our time together helped him see the absurdity of turning away from Jesus because one of his so-called representatives behaved violently and immorally.
It’s the true Jesus who causes even unbelievers to know that what was done to Bethany was of the devil. But Seth entered into the same foolishness when, like Hosea’s people, he drank, consulted mediums, and had sex. Hosea makes it clear that when any of us lose our ability to discern right and wrong, it leads to ruin.
LORD, help both Seth and Bethany as adults to realize that you will deal with those who sexually take advantage of the young. You will also judge anyone, including your own people, when they act promiscuously. As I listen to your proclamation of judgment against false, immoral, idolatrous worship in Hosea, use it to protect me from taking any steps in that direction.
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