Deadly Human Sacrifices
When I taught World Religion at Navarro College, one of the tragic things about religion I had to present to the students was ritual human sacrifice. From the Aztec priests extracting hearts from their victims at the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan to the Spanish Inquisition burning heretics alive, idolatrous worship leads to the death of men, women, and children.
Recently I had lunch with a friend. He described the intensity of the PTSD he is experiencing as a result of having to identify the body of the young son of one of his colleagues, who was ritually sacrificed in a West African country. The true God is the author of life. False gods, worshiped using statues made by human hands, always lead to death. As Hosea brings God’s lawsuit against the Northern Kingdom of Israel, one of his most potent charges was that they had blood on their hands from their worship of the Baal.
“When Ephraim spoke it generated trembling—respect. He was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty with the Baal, and he died. Now they add to their sin: they make for themselves cast images from their silver, skilled craftsmen make all of their idols.
These who are participating in human sacrifice say, ‘Kiss the calves!’ Therefore they will be as the morning fog, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff blown away from the threshing floor, like smoke swirling away through a window.
But I remain the LORD, your God from the land of Egypt. You shall be intimate with no other God, only me.
There is no other Savior, only me.” Hosea 13:1-4
Hosea speaks of the power and the respect that Ephraim, the dominant tribe of the north, had at their beginning and how they lost all their power because they worshiped Baal. The true God is the source of all of life. He’s a spirit, and we are the living breathing bearers of his image. Hosea’s people forgot the first episode in their sacred scriptures and the first and second commandment, and they reverently kissed lifeless silver idols as they sacrificed humans. God pronounced a death sentence against this murder in the name of religion, and said they would soon be blown away.
LORD, we can piously shake our heads against this killing of human beings, but many in our culture hold that it’s progressive and liberating for little babies in the womb to be executed. Powerfully move true followers of Jesus to love their children from the moment he gives them the gift of life.
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