Go ahead and start mourning, Judah. Everyone is going to die.
That’s the message here.
The worship in the temple, the sacrifices, it’s all completely meaningless, because it isn’t from the heart. It isn’t real. It’s just form. The people are worshipping all the other gods, too. There’s no devotion. Worse: they’re sacrificing their children.
Yep. Once again, God’s people have taken to killing their own children in ritual sacrifice.
God’s reaction: this is unthinkable. Now you will all die here.
I mean, that seems reasonable to me. As a mother? Yeah. That seems totally reasonable. I’m sorry, you were doing what? Yeah, you all gotta go.
It amazes me when people look at the Old Testament and see a fiery, angry, tyrant in the depiction of God. Yes, he punishes disobedience, but look at the scale of the disobedience he punishes them for. And look at the punishments.
When it’s just negligence, he gives them time. Generations. He gives them warnings. He calls them back. Reminds them how things should be.
When he rains down fire? Yeah, um, the mayor and city council of Sodom wanted to rape and kill the visitors. Maybe just the first one, but probably the second. And rob them, most likely. I mean, if you’ve already killed them, why not keep their stuff?
It’s the killing of children. The killing of sojourners. This is what God says deserves annihilation.
God is the same in the Old Testament as he is in the New. He’s patient. He’s loving. He’s constantly offering way more chances and time and more chances than any human has ever deserved. He is not willing that any should perish. But he will not tolerate the exploitation or harm of the defenseless. Don’t kill your kids. Don’t harm the displaced. Don’t fill the temple with so much corruption that those who earnestly seek him can’t even get through the door. Just don’t.