You shall say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind–therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds. And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.’
Jeremiah 19:3-9 ESV
I often need a horrifying wake-up call like this one, that details the severity of the idolatry in the human heart. I can quickly start dismissing my idol worship as a sort of personality test. When I say things like “I have a comfort idol” it almost sounds like a pet. But this passage is a bleak reminder of how far unchecked idolatry can take a person, and how God gave the Israelites over to their evil deeds that flowed from their idol worship. Israel was worshipping a god that demanded their children as sacrifices, and the true God responded with the destruction of their children.
A much greater calamity was coming, though. The greatness of the calamity would not be due to the body count, but due to the innocence of the one child who endured the suffering. God’s child. We don’t eat the flesh of our children as punishment for our idolatry because God has brought us Jesus, the bread of life. Feasting on Jesus, through communion, is the way God reminds us that he has eternally mended our relationship with him after we had broken it with our putting created things before him.
Jesus, you perfectly paid the price for my idolatry. I don’t want to follow vain creations that will end up demanding everything from me. There’s only one person who deserves all of me, and that is you, Jesus. I want to love you so much more than I do. Grab hold of my affections until I love you more than anything that was created through you.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.