It would be safe to say that the Israelites were guilty of playing the harlot by turning from God and worshipping other gods. They did it from the beginning of time. You can go all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). He told them that they would be as God, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, they fell from grace.
At that point they had turned from God and, in effect, worshipped the god of self – they had become “as God.” Look what happened with the Tower of Babel. The people were all speaking the same language and they decided to build a city and a tower that would reach into heaven. They wanted to make a name for themselves. That is worshipping self. And they did this in order not to be scattered abroad over the face of the earth. Now, this was displeasing to God as He saw it this way: for “nothing they purpose to do would be impossible for them.” In other words, they were being “as God,” so God scattered them over the face of the earth anyway. (Genesis 11:1-9).
There was also the great flood of Noah and the Ark when the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Man has a sin problem; sin had entered the world and it manifested itself in such a way that man continually attempted to usurp God – to be “as God.” That is idolatry and that is what the first and second commandments are about.
Still, after all of that, God chose Abraham and led him to the Holy Land (the Negev, which is the southern half of Israel – Genesis 20:1). Abraham begat Isaac; Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat twelve sons which became the twelve tribes of Israel, with Judah being the son through which is the line of Christ (Matthew 1:2).
But Judah was the instigator in having his brother Joseph sold to the Ishmaelites (Midianites) who brought him to Egypt where the Israelites eventually stayed for 430 years, 400 of which were in slavery (Genesis 37:18-28; Acts 7:6). It is also from where they grew into a great nation and from where Moses led them back to the Holy Land (the Exodus). And it is also from there that our story of the Israelites playing the harlot began in the first place.
So, coming full circle, it is safe to say that the sin of idolatry began with Satan tempting Eve in the Garden and we have been saddled with it ever since. The idea of man being “as God,” “as though nothing would be impossible for him,” comes straight from the devil himself.
Then there is the fact that Moses wouldn’t have even been born and able to lead the Israelites out of bondage were it not for his mother hiding him from the king of Egypt (Exodus 2:1-3), which was God’s grace. The king had attempted to stop the growth of the Israelites when he spoke, first to the midwives and then to all his people, telling them to kill all the newborn sons, not only of the Israelites but of his people also (1:15-22).
This diabolical scheme was straight from the devil, but God’s Will will never be thwarted. The story of Moses leading the people out of bondage and to the Promised Land would not be as we know it, if at all, had Satan been successful in preventing him from living.
We previously talked about the tactics of the wicked Jezebel and her daughter Athaliah, and how they attempted to prevent the birth of Christ, or at least pervert and pollute His bloodline, with the subsequent eradication of four generations from His genealogy. There was also the attempt by Herod to have the prophesied Messiah killed (Matthew 2:7-13). These schemes are too elaborate to just be chalked up to circumstance. And we know that, although Satan succeeded in having Christ killed, he ultimately failed and God’s Will was done as He was resurrected! Hallelujah!
So, just as we traced the sin of idolatry – harlotry –
all the way back to the Garden, we will also trace the promise of Christ’s resurrection
back there too (Genesis 3:15). The story that that verse tells was the story of
the resurrection. God was pronouncing His curse on the serpent for deceiving Eve
and while this writer is not one to be associated with astrology, the foot of Hercules
is poised above the head of the serpent Draco in the constellations. There is a fancy Greek
word for this, proto-Evangelium (first evangel, or, the first gospel), but
suffice it to say that His invisible attributes have been clearly seen through
what has been made (Romans 1:20). The heavens declare His righteousness, and
the peoples have seen His glory (Psalm 97:6).
 The Gospel in the Stars; Joseph A. Seiss; E. Claxton and Co.; Philadelphia; 1882; pp. 45-47