Wednesday, October 28, 2009

God Roasted Them

John Piper recently wrote about the harshness of God's punishment used in Jeremiah 29:22-23:
Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them.
Often I find myself discussing God's judgment in the Old Testament as if God answers to man. The argument men make against God's punishment is rooted in a low view of God and a high view of man, and I thought a good response was John Piper's following exposition:

I am shocked by the term “roasted.” Why such a description? It actually happened, that’s why. Nebuchadnezzar roasted them. And why did it happen? Why such an outrageous physical horror and why such an outrageous physical word used to describe it?

Because speaking false things about God and committing adultery does not feel outrageous to us. But roasting someone in the fire does. So God correlates the two so we would learn what is really outrageous in the world. Demeaning God and breaking covenants.

The combination of man's sinfulness and stupidity result in God having to use wretched punishment to send the message that man is wretched. We are so dumb and blind that we need shocked and awakened from our decrepit death. This all culminates at the cross. A hideous death for hideous sinners.

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