playing with fire
Jeremiah 32:26-35 (JDV)
Jeremiah 32:26 The word of Yahveh came to Jeremiah, and this is what he said:
Jeremiah 32:27 “Notice, I am Yahveh, the God of all flesh. Is there a matter too difficult for me?
Jeremiah 32:28 Therefore, this is what Yahveh says: I am about to hand this city over to the Chaldeans, to Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar, and he will capture it.
Jeremiah 32:29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will come and set this city on fire. They will burn it, including the houses where incense has been burned to Baal on their rooftops and where drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, provoking me to anger.
Jeremiah 32:30 From their youth, the Israelites and Judeans have done nothing but what is evil in my sight! They have done nothing but anger me by the work of their hands” – this is what Yahveh declares –
Jeremiah 32:31 “because this city has caused my wrath and fury from the day it was built until now. I will therefore remove it from my presence
Jeremiah 32:32 because of all the evil the Israelites and Judeans have done to anger me – they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, the men of Judah, and the residents of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 32:33 They have turned their backs to me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.
Jeremiah 32:34 They have placed their abhorrent things in the house that bears my name and have defiled it.
Jeremiah 32:35 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 fail so!
playing with fire
It started with something small — something as innocuous as a little incense burning from the rooftops. They said, “We’ll show our neighbors that we can be just as religious as they are. We’ll invest in a little cultural relations.” But before long, a little incense was not enough. Some of the people of Judah wanted to be hardcore. So, they built the high places of Baal in Ben Hinnom Valley to sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire to Molech. After all, if it brought good fortune to the Canaanites, we want that too.
They were literally playing with fire.
When God finally said, “Enough is enough” it was not the Chaldeans he was angry at. They didn’t know any better. It was his own children that would be the first to experience his wrath. Nothing angers a parent more than blatant disobedience from one’s own children — displayed for all the neighbors to see.
This passage — all of the prophets really — warn people of the covenant that God has to punish rebellion in his own children, and he will address that issue first. We have no time to play around with pagan ungodliness, because our Father is watching.
Lord, we confess to trying to be too much like our unbelieving neighbors.