Human Sacrifices vs the One True God’s Sacrifice
by Gini Crawford, MSW
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As I was writing about Jesus’ sacrifice for us in the study, “God Loves You & Me” this idea grabbed hold of my heart. The more I thought about God’s sacrifice for us and compared it to what we do, to try to satisfy our own wants and needs, the more I saw God’s fervent unconditional love for us! Even now as I write this, my heart is so touched on what God did for us while we were His enemies and we were being so selfish in our quest for fulfillment.
I watched the movie, “Apocalypto” by Mel Gibson a few weeks ago. Human sacrifices were portrayed in living color, with the heads of the sacrificed men rolling down the stairs of the temple of the sun god. As if that wasn’t enough to underline the sinful brutality of some people, the priests and the priestesses had on their gorgeous ritual attire with blood dripping down the fronts and sleeves. The blood was from the still beating hearts that had been just cut out of their human victims. These hearts would then be lifted up for their god’s approval. These people thought they could get their needs and wants met by this horrendous practice. I thought, “Oh Mel, why be so graphic?” Then it hit me that this is the history of our sinful human nature, definitely nearing its worst, being shown in living color. Watching the cruelty humans can do made it oh so clear to me that we could never earn the One True God’s approval. This is because our hearts and minds just naturally want to disobey God.
I know some of you are thinking, “I would never do anything such as a human sacrifice.” I certainly believe you. However Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount made it clear that what we think counts just as much as what we do or say. He stated in Matthew 5 that if we are angry at someone without just cause, it is as if we murdered them. John the Apostle explains in 1 John 3:15a, “Everyone who hates his bother is a murderer.” I think if we are honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge that we have all thought some pretty horrible things about some people. These unkind thoughts are sin to God too! (It certainly is not as unthinkable or as brutal a sin as human sacrifice, but it is still sin because you are disobeying what God wants.) Ephesians 4:32 sums up God’s heart desire for how we should treat others,
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. NASB®
Let’s take a look at what God thinks about human sacrifices so we can better understand God’s sacrifice for us through His Son. God made it very clear to Moses and the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 12 that He didn’t want them to copy the practices of the nations that were around them. They were to listen to all God’s words. If they did this, then they would be doing what is good and right in God’s sight and not be sinning. The nations around them were doing abominable or repulsive acts to serve their false gods. These acts included human sacrifices, which the One True God hated.
Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?” You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. Deuteronomy 12:28-32 NASB®
Since the tendency to disobey God just seems to come naturally to all people and the proof of this is seen through out history; the nation of Israel did what God thought was unthinkable! They disobeyed the One True God and followed false gods, even to the extent of human sacrifice. God made it very apparent that human sacrifice was absolutely ghastly to Him in Jeremiah 19 and 32. As you read these scriptures, you get the impression that God very strongly hates the practice of human sacrifice. He says that it was not a command of His, nor did it even ever enter His mind.
Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind therefore, behold, days are coming, "declares the Lord," when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter. Jeremiah 19:4-6 NASB®
And they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. Jeremiah 32:35 NASB®
Historians will say, “Human sacrifice has been around even before recorded history. So what makes some people want to sacrifice other people, even their children, to false gods so they can get what they want or need? Most definitely it has to do with the wickedness that permeates all of us from our sinful nature. It is this nature that makes us desirous to do what God doesn’t want us to do, even to sacrifice our child. Where did this continuous desire to sin come from? Remember from Genesis 2 and 3 that God created everything with great love and care for Adam and Eve. This was so they and we could be in a relationship with Him, and the earth He created would perfectly sustain us and give us enjoyment. However in disobedience to God’s one command to them, they chose a tree in place of the God who created that tree. And for some odd reason they expected a tree to meet their needs and to give them what they desired, instead of the One True God who loved them and created them. This one act of disobeying God brought the far reaching effects of sin to all of us.
Nevertheless the One true God, the Creator of all things (even the things we tend to worship), stepped down from eternity and enter into our worldly existence. This was so He could love us more personally and meet our most important need, which was for forgiveness of our sins. The payment for these sins was to be our death. However He never wanted us to die, so He paid for all these sins, even the above sin that He didn’t even want to think about. He paid for these sins by doing the unthinkable, sacrificing His own innocent Son for us. What God commanded us not to do, He did, because He loves us so very much.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?..."But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 NASB®
Life application: Because God sacrificed His Son for you, your needs on this earth as well as in eternity will be met, if you believe Jesus Christ was sacrificed for you. Thinking of all that the One True God did for you, shouldn’t you be willing to sacrifice some of your time to get to know Him better? God longs to be with you! Mediate on: Isaiah 30:18
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