Jeremiah is told by God to buy a clay jar, go to the Valley of Ben Hinnom and proclaim the words of God. Ben Hinnom was the pits – the garbage tip for Jerusalem – the place where children were sacrificed to the god Molech along with other unspeakable atrocities. God declared through Jeremiah that the place of sacrifice would become the place of slaughter. The killers of the innocent would be judged by losing their own lives.
Can the picture of fallen humanity get any worse?
Thankfully there is a bright spot. On Sundays I look around the church and I am very impressed with the parents of young children, particularly with fathers, how they are caring for and loving their young children. After working hard all week and being away from home for many long hours, perhaps Sunday is the day for them to catch up on their relationships with their children (and to give their mothers a well earned break). It is great to see – and encouraging for the future of families generally.
I can’t help but think that the way I see fathers (and also mothers) relating to their children is a great image of the response God wants when He reveals Himself to us. When we catch a glimpse of God, we should be attracted to Him and reach out in love. In Paul’s words we should automatically find ourselves glorifying Him as God and being thankful.
But Romans 1 describes a totally different reaction. Instead of reaching out as we see our fathers doing, mankind’s reaction is completely different. It is like reaching out for a hot iron. When brushing up against God, the response of mankind is to jerk away. Again in Paul’s words, they suppressed the truth – and rather than turning to God, they turn away, so that “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened”(v.21). What followed the rejection of God was idolatry, immorality, and wickedness of every kind.
Paul explores “righteousness”. He doesn’t want us to think that we are lacking in righteousness because God is holding out on us. We lack righteousness because all people are sinners by nature. The proof of that is seen in the fact that when God reveals Himself to us, we pull our hand away.
Can it get any worse? It can, as long as people continue to pull their hand away from God.
We see the fathers reaching out to their children in natural and loving ways. There is an affinity, a warmth of affection. Mankind’s rejection of a loving and righteous God is unmistakable proof that human beings are lost and in sin. If they felt any affinity with God, they would respond to Him with warmth.
Only the power of God flowing through the Gospel can change people’s hearts, and enable us to respond to God’s great love.
Have you responded to that amazing love of God?
Have a great day,