Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. Ps. 127:3-5 NLT
They have committed both adultery and murder — adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house. Ezek. 23:37-39 NLT
When we read the Ezekiel passage printed above we are rightly horrified. How could those people do such things? Thank God we have gotten beyond that stage in the development of human culture.
Or have we? We have to understand what was going on there. Humans are fragile and needy. If we don’t get what we want and need, life is pretty grim. Beyond the bare necessities for physical life, what do we want? Possessions, pleasure, and position (1 Jn 2:16). How do we get them? Well, life is pretty simple when you get right down to it: you get what you pay for. Those folks personified life forces as gods, and sold their kids to those forces in order to satisfy their desires.
Are we different? I am afraid not. How many men, and now women, have sacrificed their children in order to serve the gods of money and position? How many of us have sacrificed our children on the altar of our pleasure? How many of us have dolled our little girls up as though they were prostitutes, or forced our little boys into sports, in order to satisfy our thwarted desires? How many of us have sacrificed our children on the altar of our desire to be great parents and to be appreciated by our children? How many of us have sacrificed our children to the gods of this world because we were unwilling to accept the hard work involved in being trustees of heaven’s gift?
Before we are too harsh on those people of long ago and far away, perhaps we need to take a look in the mirror, and fall on our faces.