Burn It

Today's devotion from Jeremiah 32.While imprisoned for proclaiming God's Word, Jeremiah is tasked with purchasing property. This is a fairly easy illustration to understand. However, in explaining this scenario for Jeremiah, God describes the fall of the city. He tells Jeremiah that the Chaldean forces who take the city will burn the houses. The reason for the arson appears to be to cleanse the city. The homes that will be burned were places in which Baal was worshipped. The cultic practices of burning incense and pouring out drink offerings have defiled the homes of the Holy Land. These Babylonians will act on God's behalf in setting the fires that will purify the place. All of this makes sense. We can understand what God is describing. However, there is something that even God seems to have difficulty in believing. He says, "They have built the high places of Baal in Ben Hinnom Valley to sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire to Molech--something I had not commanded them. I had never entertained the thought that they do this detestable act causing Judah to sin!" (Jeremiah 32:35, CSB)

Why would these people turn from the God who had so blessed them to worship false gods who supposedly demanded more costly sacrifices that He ever would? You see, the valley of Ben Hinnom outside Jerusalem is thought to be the visual used by Jesus to describe Hell. It was defiled by trash and filth, physically, but spiritually it carried the stink and national embarrassment of Molech worship. The high places built there were places in which parents would sacrifice their children by burning them to death.

Why would they willingly do something so terrible when all God demanded was justice, mercy, and faithfulness? I believe the reason is because sin makes us unabashedly selfish. These people would rather kill their children in the hopes fo profit than give selflessly toward godly justice.

This same greed continues to rear its ugly head in our culture. True, we may not have parents lining up to burn their children to death, but we have an entire industry devoted to aborting the unborn and unwanted burdensome children that could prevent aspiring men and women from climbing the corporate ladder, gaining material wealth, or, heaven forbid, might force adults to live more selfless lives.