Okay, so being warned that if you violate the covenant with God your nation will be so besieged that the best among you are eating their own children and refusing to share them is… dramatic to say the least. It paints pretty graphic picture. Pretty intense. I mean, talk about trying to scare folks straight.
Except, come Lamentations, there’s reference to people doing just that.
Of course, it’s pretty easy to look at the passage here and call it dramatic language typical of the age. “Violate this covenant and the worst possible fate you can imagine shall befall you!” And Lamentations is pretty poetice. Perhaps it’s just poetic liscense, a bit of hyperbole, some exaggeration to make the point that this was the worst possible fate they could have imagined. It was bad, people!
I don’t know. Siege is pretty awful. People get pretty desperate. I think if we’re honestly imagining the scenario, we can’t rule out the possibility that, poetically as it’s presented, it actually happened.
My point is: take the worst possible thing you can imagine, imagine something worse, something so bad you can’t actually hold it in your mind, something too awful to genuinely consider. Something that terrifies you, something that does more, that makes you ill, unsettles you. Something you feel in you marrow. That still fails to communicate the nature of our final judgment without the redemption of Christ.
There is no way to adequately express the severity of the situation. We have no true way to conceive of eternity, of a spiritual existence beyond the body, of God. We have no way to truly conceive of being completely finally separated from him. Neither do we anymore have a real conception of full annhilation, of ceasing to exist. So whatever judgment you believe awaits the unrepentant, it is, in it’s fullest and most literal interpretation, Awfully Terrifying.
How do you begin to communicate that? To really drive that point home? Well, picture the most gentle, sweet, loving people know eating their own children and refusing to share.