Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - Jan 17
  • Without Him
  • I Exalt Thee
  • Doxology
  • Introduction
    One time I remember riding in a car with Aletha. We were both students at the time and a college professor was driving. We hitched a ride with him to visit Aletha’s family in Oregon and on the way back to California down the Interstate he was in a hurry. I don’t frighten easily but we must have been going 90 miles an hour weaving in and out of traffic.
    I’ll I could do was hang on and pray for God’s mercy.
    This passage is kind of like that so hang on and I promise there’s some good news at the end.
    Scripture Reading… Jer 7:30-8:3
    Take a look once again at verse 30.
    Jeremiah 7:30 NASB95
    “For the sons of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight,” declares the Lord, “they have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it.
    What they’re doing here is hedging their bets. They are putting their trust in the Lord, but at the same time their trusting idols, in false gods, but in God’s house — just in case.
    Of course, this isn’t real faith at all. The gospel is Christ plus nothing and when we start trying to add things to the gospel we don’t make it better, we destroy it (Matt 6:24).
    So what they’re doing is evil in God’s sight. It’s “detestable” It’s an abhorrent abomination.
    t would be like setting up an alter to the Wiccan “mother goddess” in our entryway. Only what they did was even worse...
    Jeremiah 7:31 NASB95
    “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.
    They were literally sacrificing their children in the high places.
    The “high places” weren’t always very high geographically. Sometimes these shrines or raised platforms were built down in the valley as this one was.
    This particular place of worship was called “Topheth” which means something like “fireplace” or “oven” and it’s where they went to burn their sons and daughters in the fire.
    Obviously, they were doing the opposite of what God commanded, but I think they had good intentions. They were hedging their bets. Just in case God didn’t come through for them maybe Molech or Baal would listen to them.
    Child sacrifice was a reoccurring problem for Isreal. They were told not do it by Moses (Lev 18:21) but Ahaz, King of Israel, sacrificed his own son in the fire (2 Kings 16:3) and so did Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6). And the regular people followed their example.
    One of the things good king Josiah did was to tear down the High places (2 Kings 23:19), and put a stop to child sacrifices, but it seems that was just a temporary reprieve because the book of Jeremiah occurs after he died and here they are at it again, killing their babies.
    We don’t need to be too graphic in describing what they were doing but please keep in mind that this passage describes real fire, and literal flames. It’s not just a metaphor for doing bad things.
    So why were they killing their children?
    Were they insane? Had they gone completely mad? Were they possessed by demons? I don’t think so. I think they probably had the best of intentions and were completely logical in what they knowingly did because they thought what they were doing would save them.
    I think they loved their children just like all moms and dads do but they also believed the lies of the false gods they were worshiping and besides if their leaders were doing it it must be OK.
    Some of them might have even thought that this is what God told them to do in Scripture.
    Exodus 22:29 NASB95
    “You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.
    If you don’t read the surrounding verses this kind of sounds like God approves of child sacrifice, right?
    Or what about Abraham? Didn’t God tell tell him to sacrifice his son?
    Well, in the case of Exodus 22:29 if you read the next verse you’ll see that God is talking about circumcision, not child sacrifice.
    And in the case of Abraham, the key difference is that God never intended for Abraham to actually kill Issac. It was a test (Gen 22:1-2) to see if Abraham would obey God even when his command didn’t make sense to him.
    Child sacrifice is an extreme example of what can happen when we listen more to the world around us than to the word of God.
    God’s word has been used over the centuries to justify slavery, being deceitful, illicit relationships, and even murder.
    But not everything done in the name of Jesus is pleasing to him. And just because we have good intentions doesn’t make our actions acceptable to God.
    And in this case of child sacrifice, God goes out of his way to make it clear that what Israel was doing was not pleasing to him.
    Jeremiah 7:31 NASB95
    “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.
    They were doing that “which He did not command, and did not come into His mind.”
    “Mind” is literally “heart” as it is translated in the KJV. So it’s not that God is saying “It never occured to me” but that it was never his intention for them to do such a wicked thing.
    So it it didn’t come from the mind or heart of God then where did it come from?
    It came from their culture, the world around them. It came from sources they thought they could trust.

    Topheth in America

    You might be tempted to think that this kind of barbaric practice is a thing of the past. America is civilized and we would never do anything like that any more.
    But you’d be wrong. Every time a pregnant young girl walks into a Planned Parenthood clinic and has an abortion our unborn children are being slaughtered. Often times it happens at the insistence of the father so it’s not just women that are responsible.
    It’s not my intent to elaborate on the evil of abortion today because I think most listening right now probably agree with me, and if you don’t, there probably isn’t a whole lot I could say to make you change your mind in the short time that I have.
    That’s because at the root of our abortion problem is a spiritual problem. The act of abortion is a form of idol worship.
    The gods of this world tell us that the most important things are physical comfort, economic status, and career plans. They tell us that the most important goal is to be happy and if you need to sacrifice your unborn child to be happy then that’s what you must do.
    So even if Roe v. Wade is overturned and every state bans partial birth abortion we would still have a spiritual problem.
    That’s why our primary weapons in this spiritual battle aren’t picket signs and legislation (although these things have their place) but the love of Christ, the peace of the gospel, prayer, and the Word of God.
    Unfortunately Topheth is far too prevalent in America, but there are many lesser forms of child sacrifice occuring here too.
    Every time a career is put ahead of a family, every time anger prevents the exercise of loving discipline, and every time children must adjust to their parents’ interests rather than the other way around, parents display the same heart-attitude that the people of Judah displayed when they went down to the valley of slaughter.
    I’m not saying children should rule the roost and be allowed to do whatever they want. That’s a recipe for complete chaos and not at all pleasing to God.
    What I am saying is that we all need to check our hearts while we interact with our children, whether they are still at home or not.
    We need to check our hearts for selfish pride. The attitude that leads to mistreating our children (or anyone) is self love over the love of others. It’s love of our group over the love of other groups.
    So even if we aren’t literally murdering children we may still be displaying a selfish attitude that leads to acting in ways that are just as disgusting to God.
    This prideful, selfish mindset is all too prevalent in politics right now. People, even Christians, are entrenched in their sides willing to sacrifice the lives of others in order to preserve their way of life, their political party, their country.
    This is a lesser manifestation than child sacrifice, perhaps, but it comes from the same heart that justifies killing an innocent child.
    And what are the consequences of this kind of evil heart?

    The Wages of Sin is Death

    Romans 6:23 says death is the reward, the payment for sin. And Jeremiah doesn’t describe death for the wicked as peaceful closing of eyes and going to a better place.
    Jeremiah 7:32–33 NASB95
    “Therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of the Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place. “The dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth; and no one will frighten them away.
    Death is ugly. It reeks. It’s disgusting because sin is also disgusting. And sin, when it’s allowed to continue, effects everything, even our families.
    Jeremiah 7:34 NASB95
    “Then I will make to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land will become a ruin.
    A society where parents sacrifice their children for their own comfort will come to ruin. Abortion, bad parenting, and tribalism which all come from the same prideful, selfish heart will bring a society to ruin quicker than anything else.
    There is no joy for our country or for us as individuals if we continue to practice wickedness without repenting.
    And our leaders will be judged especially harshly.
    Jeremiah 8:1 NASB95
    “At that time,” declares the Lord, “they will bring out the bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of its princes, and the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from their graves.
    A decent burial will be too good for them and their punishment fits the crime. Israel’s leaders should have led their country in a humble way, showing them the meaning of self-sacrifice, instead they led in a way that encouraged their people to do whatever they thought was necessary to save themselves.
    As a result...
    Jeremiah 8:2 NASB95
    “They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.
    They had good intentions but they were worshiping the wrong gods and now they are stretched out to die a slow death while their gods look on and can do nothing to save them.
    The punishment for what they have done is so severe they will wish for death.
    Jeremiah 8:3 NASB95
    “And death will be chosen rather than life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family, that remains in all the places to which I have driven them,” declares the Lord of hosts.
    And with that this section is mercifully over.

    Where is the Grace?

    Where’s the relief? Where’s the silver lining in this passage? We could go on to verse 4 but God just continues to pile more condemnation upon his people.
    Why is that? It’s because the Valley of Slaughter is the Valley of Hell. In the New Testament it is called the Valley of Gehenna.
    The Valley of the Son of Hinnom, or Ben Hinnom, is the same place Jesus talked about in the New Testament.
    Luke 12:5 NASB95
    “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
    “Hell” in this verse is Gehenna which in Jesus’ day was located outside the city of Jerusalem. It’s where they burned the trash, but it refers to a place much worse— Hell. It’s a place of abomination, wickedness, burning, cruelty and living death.
    And the reason Hell is such an awful place is because God’s love is not there. When God completely removes his grace and love and allows those that have decided to to their own thing to do exactly what they want without God getting in the way, that’s what makes Hell to be Hell.
    So, if you are still hedging your bets and haven’t put your complete trust in Christ, there is no time to lose.
    Through Jeremiah’s words, God has given us a glimpse of what hell is like and we can sure that hell, when it is fully revealed to those that go there, will be much worse than what our English words are capable of describing.
    But as we conclude, let me personalize this for the church, for those that have already put their trust in Christ.
    In the words of Phillip Ryken, President of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois:
    There seems to be plenty of angry Christians these days, condemning sinners for society’s ills. There seem to be plenty of self-righteous Christians around these days too, chastising the nation for leaving the faith of its fathers.
    There is a place for righteous anger about the sins of America, and there is some truth to the idea that our nation is in spiritual decline. But our primary response to the lost ought to be lamentation over the dishonor done to God and over the prospect of eternal judgment.
    What’s amazing to me is that Philip Ryken wrote these words 20 years ago yet they couldn’t be more true today.
    “Our primary response to the lost ought to be lamentation over the dishonor done to God and over the prospect of eternal judgment.”
    Verse 29 gives us some insight into the kind of lament we should be feeling:
    Jeremiah 7:29 NASB95
    ‘Cut off your hair and cast it away, And take up a lamentation on the bare heights; For the Lord has rejected and forsaken The generation of His wrath.’
    In other words, this isn’t the time to be focused on our good looks and other relatively trivial things. It’s time for despair and anguish, not for ourselves or even for our country, but over our sin and the lostness of so many people.
    People are going to hell while Christians are arguing over what’s the best way to save our country!
    So, as we lament the sins of our country, and our own sins, we need to remember that Jesus Christ has made the only sacrifice that is necessary for sin.
    We don’t need to sacrifice our children to save our souls. The Prophet Micah asked in chapter 6:7...
    Micah 6:7 NASB95
    Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
    And the implied answer is a resounding “No!” Christ has paid it all. But there is something that God wants us to do. And what’s that?
    Micah 6:8 NASB95
    He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
    Walk humbly because Jesus, himself, is our sacrifice for sin. We can’t save ourselves and believing this, if we truly believe it, should cause us to walk humbly with God and our fellow man.
    Honestly seeing our condition and our hopelessness without Christ, and then trusting it what He alone has done for us, will cause us shed our prideful, divisive, selfish ways.
    So, believe the gospel and do justice. Don’t just hope for justice, but to actually do justice as the Hebrew says, and love kindness.
    Depending upon who you listen most to, you might be thinking something more important is required right now in our country, but not from God’s point of view.
    And what we need right now, more than ever, is God’s point of view.
      • Jeremiah 7:30KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 7:31KJV1900

      • Exodus 22:29KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 7:31KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 7:32–33KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 7:34KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 8:1KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 8:2KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 8:3KJV1900

      • Luke 12:5KJV1900

      • Jeremiah 7:29KJV1900

      • Micah 6:7KJV1900

      • Micah 6:8KJV1900

  • Be Thou My Vision

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