abortion and the god Molech in the Old Testament

21st Century Molech

“You are not to make any of your children pass through the fire to Molech. Do not profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh.” Leviticus 18:21

There is an interesting command God gives to the Israelites in Leviticus chapter 18. It is sandwiched between other commands concerning prohibited sexual relations and forbidden pagan practices. God specifically calls out Molech, a god of the Canaanite people. According to ancient historians, worshipers of Molech would sacrifice their infants to Molech to ensure prosperity for their future. It is said that the Canaanite people would also get rid of their illegitimate children by way of child sacrifice. I even read somewhere that poor families would sell their infants to those who did not have babies of their own.

It is important to understand what was going on when people worshiped Molech. The Canaanites would heat up a statue of Molech until it was red hot. The statue usually featured a bull-like figure with outstretched arms that slopped down like a slide into a fire pit. The infants literally melted before the eyes of those in attendance. Keep in mind that the child’s parents were among those watching. Yet, they were told not to cry or shed a tear lest they forfeit the blessing that would come as a result of their sacrifice. In fact, the Canaanites would play loud flutes and drums to drown out the sound of the infant’s screams.

Wicked is not strong enough a word to describe what was going on here.

Going back to the command that God gave Israel, we see that He abhors such behavior and practices. Don’t forget that the command was given amidst other commands about  sinful sexual practices. This type of “worship” would be tempting to those who either didn’t want their child or felt this was the way they could take hold of their future.

Make no mistake, Molech is still being worshiped today. He has just taken on a more modern, 21st century look. The drums and flutes have been discarded, but there is still plenty of noise to drown out the cries of the infants. In both situations, the baby is offered up so that the parents might have a “better life.”

God was patient with the Canaanites for 400 years before He sent His righteous judgement. When will His patience run out with us? Oh Lord, have mercy!

chiang mai air pollution number 1

Is There Smoke in Our Lungs?

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen some of the posts I have made about the air pollution here in Chiang Mai. Most of the pollution is due to the burning of rice fields for future harvests. Today the pollution is especially bad. Chiang Mai is a city surrounded by mountains, but you cannot see them at all due to the smoke. If you have to be outside for an extended period of time, you most certainly need to wear a mask.

Breathing in this toxic air will make you feel sick and sluggish. But it doesn’t happen right away. It happens slowly—slow enough to where you can’t always perceive the harm it is doing to your body. I think the same can be said of sin in our lives.

There are certain things we know are not good for us and therefore, we avoid them completely. For example, we know it is sinful to cheat on our spouses. After all, it is the seventh commandment. But a flirtatious comment or joke with someone other than your spouse is okay every now and then, right? It’s not like your actually going to sleep with them or anything. You’re just playing around!

There might be smoke in your lungs.

Let’s look at another commandment, shall we? Obviously, we know it is wrong to murder someone. I mean, that’s number 6 on the list! But, what about that guy you despise at work. Don’t you treat a dead person better than you treat him? Okay, maybe that’s too harsh. Try this on for size. What about that “weird lady” at church everyone avoids? Do you treat her like a sister-in-Christ? Or in your heart do you wish she wasn’t a Christian? At least then she wouldn’t talk your head off for 10 minutes every Sunday after church.

There might be smoke in your lungs, friend.

Tell me if this describes you. You aren’t a “full-blown” sinner like those heathens out there in the world are. You don’t smoke or drink or cuss. You go to church every Sunday. You tithe. You even teach a Sunday School class. You’re squeaky clean from the outside. But, on the inside…your lungs are black. You don’t have a thirst for righteousness or a hunger to love others. You’ve been breathing in the pollution of the world and its desires thinking that it won’t have any affect on you. Now you are sluggish when it comes to prayer. You start to feel sick when you think of reading God’s Word. Your spiritual lungs have become so damaged that you can’t even utter an “Amen.” How did this happen, you ask? You traded the fresh, clean air of truth for the toxic fumes of lies.

But there is good news! Unlike the damage of real second-hand smoke, spiritual second-hand smoke is reversible. All you need to do is repent and Christ will be faithful to forgive you and cleanse you (1 John 1:9). Breathe in the pure Gospel that saved you. Inhale the grace of God once again that was purchased by the blood of His Son. And then breathe out new thanksgivings and praises to Him.

I may not be able to do much about the air I breathe in here in Chiang Mai, but I can do something about the sin I tolerate in my life. And that helps me breathe easy.

 

Burnt World Map

When Sin Goes Unchecked the Nations Suffer

Like yesterday’s blog, I was inspired to write after having seen something on my Facebook feed. However, today’s topic is not about an up-and-coming musician, rather it is a cautionary tale for up-and-coming ministers of the Gospel. News broke today that former Southern Baptist Seminary professor, David Sills (who resigned 9 months ago), resigned due to an inappropriate sexual relationship with former student, Jennifer Lyell, that lasted over a decade. If you would like to read the report, here is the link. I do not know either of the people involved, personally, but as a Southern Baptist, I do know people who do. Some of them have already shared with me about how shocked they were to find this news out. And since I do not know what really happened, I will not speculate beyond what information has been made public. All we know right now is that the affair began in 2004 while the two were on a mission trip.

Some people on Facebook were saying that it is insane that this man’s life is being ruined, while this “girl” (who is now in her 40s, mind you) gets off scot-free. One commenter said that “they were both consenting adults, so why does she get to play the victim?” First, we don’t know all the details. Second, although the student may have been 26 when the affair began, she was still a student and he was her professor. We cannot overlook the reality that Dr. Sills was someone she trusted and was viewed as an authority figure. The fact is, he failed her as a professor and he failed her as a brother in Christ, regardless of her willingness to participate. 

Listen folks, no one is safe when it comes to temptation. Not me, not you. Temptation doesn’t care how long you’ve been a Christian. It doesn’t care how many people you’ve led to the Lord. And it certainly doesn’t care about your Bible degrees and accolades. Sin is always crouching at the door—we must rule over it (Genesis 4:7). And when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission, if there is any hidden sin in our lives, it will inevitably ruin our witness. If we want the people God is calling us to reach to trust us, we have to be trustworthy. I’m talking truly trustworthy and holy before God! This veneer of holiness will not cut it. Know that I am preaching to myself here, too. If we want to reach the nations for Christ, we must make a priority of killing sin in our lives with the Sword of the Spirit. 

My prayers go out to the hurting families, churches, and communities that have been and will be affected by this revelation. I find hope in knowing that God’s love can cover a multitude of sins, can heal all wounds, and can forgive the most egregious of wrongdoings. Even still, may there be a flood of justice within our churches and denominations as we seek to address more unchecked sin. It will be painful. It will be costly. But, ultimately, it will set us free.

Spare me the sound of your songs. I won’t listen to the music of your harps. 

But let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Amos 5:23-24

Alejandro Aranda American Idol audition

In the Presence of Greatness

This morning, I stumbled across a video that one of my friends shared on Facebook. It was a clip from last night’s episode of American Idol. A 24 year old guy by the name of Alejandro Aranda preformed his original song on the guitar in front of celebrity judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. As soon as he started playing, I knew that this guy is going to be a superstar; I believe the judges did too. With his creative guitar strumming, interesting cord progressions, and lyrical depth, Alejandro has captivated the hearts and ears of people all over the world. If you haven’t see the performance, here is the link  The video already has over a million views in one day!

Lionel Richie loved his performance so much that he asked him to play something on the piano as well. Alejandro did not disappoint— it was spellbinding. After he finished, the judges gave their thoughts. Richie said Alejandro is “no joke” and “not playing around.” Perry basically said that she believed Alejandro will be the next American Idol. I would have to agree. But, it was Luke Bryan’s response that struck me the most. He said that he felt like he was in the “presence of greatness.” He said he had never seen anything like it.

Have you ever felt that way before? Have you ever felt like you were in the presence of greatness? As a musician (I play the drums), I have been to concerts and listened to albums that made me feel this way. I think I am an okay drummer when its just me, but if I look up a video of the late Buddy Rich I feel unworthy to even call myself a drummer in comparison to him. There are many people who are decent, a lot who are really good, but only a handful are truly great.


Brother and sisters, as great and talented as some are, no one can compare to the greatness of Jesus. He captivated the Jewish scholars as a twelve year old with His knowledge of the Word of God. He amazed the crowds with His authority to cast out demons and heal the sick. He gave the best sermon ever given on the Mount. He walked on water in the midst of a storm, and then calmed the storm! The men in the boat said, “Who is this that even the winds and waves obey Him?” But this isn’t the greatest thing He did. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He endured the wrath of God that we deserved. And three days later He rose victoriously from the grave! There is truly no one greater than Jesus.

And the greatest person who ever lived (and will ever live) lives within us, brothers and sisters. We won’t just be in the presence of greatness one day in heaven; we are in the presence of greatness now because of Jesus. Luke Bryan said that Alejandro’s performance “rocked him.” In other words, it changed him deeply. If a musician can do this with his song, what can Jesus, our God and King, do with His love? Being in the presence of greatness changes you; there is no doubt about it. Could it be that some so-called “Christians” do not behave like Jesus because they have never truly been in His presence? Jesus either lives in you or he doesn’t. You have either encountered Him or you haven’t.

And here is one last thing to think about. After Alejandro’s incredible audition, people have shared the video like wildfire, saying “hey, you’ve got to see this guy!” Christians, if we have truly experienced the greatness and goodness of God, then why aren’t we telling the whole world about it? Let’s make the greatness of our God known in all the world today! Amen?


How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension! 

Psalm 147:5