NIV Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible

THE TORTURING OF GOD

Jeremiah 7–10

God’s Story

God tells Jeremiah to stand at the gate of the temple and call to his people on his behalf: “Change your ways! Follow me! And I’ll let you stay here, in your family land. But if you continue the way you’re living, worshiping dark gods, I will tear down this temple and make it nothing but a pile of rubble. I will cast you from my presence, just like I cast your fellow Israelites in the northern kingdom from my presence.”

God’s people are going backwards. As his people, they are supposed to follow him, yet they’re worshiping other gods—even within his own temple. They are even sacrificing their children to these gods—something so evil that it did not “enter [God’s] mind.” If they don’t stop, he is going to turn the place where they burn their children into the “Valley of Slaughter.” The valley will be filled with dead bodies, and no one will be left to chase the vultures away.

God is going to allow enemies from the north to overtake them. “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?” Jeremiah asks. He wishes his head were a spring of water so he could cry incessantly. God’s people are so sick with sin that while he is calling and calling to them, they don’t answer. They’re enslaved to their evil idols, so God is going to scatter them throughout the nations.

The King’s Heart

Behind the scenes, evil is active—very active. Only the evil one and his forces of darkness would require sexual immorality and child sacrifice to honor them. Sin and death are Satan’s trademarks. Physically, the idols were harmless—gold-plated firewood at best. But spiritually, they were death traps—fronts for real forces of darkness. And since the dawn of time, the spiritual powers of evil have been out to hurt God. Sickening people’s souls as they murder and engage in sexual sin was just darkness’s God-paining method of choice.

For God, the tragedy wasn’t just that his people were turning away from him. It was watching the forces of darkness make them sicker. Heroes are tortured by watching as their beloved is harmed before their eyes. It is agony. What’s worse was that God’s people were willingly choosing to let darkness claim their souls. And God had to watch.

God’s violent response seemed the only appropriate one. He had called and called to his people. They were too sick to answer. This evil needed to go.

Insight

Jeremiah repeatedly refers to invaders from the north (see Jeremiah 1:154:66:2210:22). They were the conquering Babylonians.

Copyright © 2014 by Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.

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