The Horror of Godless Religion

JeremiahThis message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 30, 2007, and was taken from Jeremiah 7:30-8:8.

“For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the LORD. They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere. And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, and none will frighten them away. And I will silence in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, for the land shall become a waste. “At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs. And they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have gone after, and which they have sought and worshiped. And they shall not be gathered or buried. They shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, declares the LORD of hosts. (ESV)

The passage before us records what may well mark the low point in the book of Jeremiah. When you presume upon God’s grace (from last week’s message), how does it impact the rest of your life. The wicked culture of the day had greatly influenced the nation of Judah. God doesn’t go after the surrounding pagan culture, but his own people, Judah.

Jeremiah’s sermon on the Valley of Slaughter displays the absolute horror of godless religion. And Jeremiah was preaching to Judah, not to the neighboring pagan nations.

Note three things about this passage:

  1. The presence of an unconscionable evil (vs. 30-31).
    1. The nation of Judah was hedging its bets by including other gods in its worship, by bringing idols into the temple. They added the gods of the nations around them, just in case there might be some benefit. The only problem with this is that to trust in God plus anything else is not to trust in God at all.
    2. Judah was sacrificing their own children to pagan gods by throwing them into the fire. This was forbidden in Leviticus 18:21. Abortion is an obvious parallel in our culture today. Another lesson would be how you raise your children. Are you sacrificing for them, or you sacrificing them for your own desires?
  2. God is coming in judgment on account of this unconscionable evil vs. 32-8:3).
  3. All that remains is a graceless pit. This valley shall be known in the future as the Valley of Slaughter. This sermon ends with absolutely no relief, no offer of hope in the gospel. Why? Because there is no gospel preached in hell, only judgment.

While there is life there is hope. The gospel is still preached.

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