The mind is a powerful thing in that belief can lead to reality and that what we rehearse in our minds daily is what will be produced down the line eventually. The mind and body are connected and thus they have the ability to affect one another for both the good and bad. There have been moments where people who have rehearsed daily negative and bitter thoughts created an actual physical illness to the point where I have read testimonies of people that had miraculous physical healings when they forgave the people that have hurt them. This taught me that there is not only power in forgiveness but power of letting go of the sicknesses that we choose to hold onto.
Sin is a sickness that we hold onto and in today’s passage, I’m reminded that sin has a total effective destruction over the mind, body, and soul. There is an external world that we can experience through our five senses and there is an invisible world inside of us that we may not necessarily experience with our senses but is just as real in the realm of our thoughts, emotions, and desires. The inner life may not have a physical structure but it displays it’s presence and power through the physical structures of our beings through such things as heart ache, joy, physical pain, happiness, etc. As the outside world is very much connected with the inside, the inner life is determined by the things that we allow ourselves to experience and meditate upon. It is therefore, it is of the utmost importance to be careful as to what we watch, what we see, and what we experience as we also just as carefully must watch what we think, what we feel consistently, and what we desire. We are the gatekeepers that control the majority of the things that flow between these two interconnected worlds.
If you have been following the series thus far, you know that the Israelites were poor gatekeepers and that the reality of the sin that they allowed in their lives is going to be horrible. As the book of Jeremiah once again revisits the topic of Israel’s failure to host God, we see a new depiction of how far their sin has developed into and the eventual reality they have created.
“Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind.”
They weren’t taught to worship these particular idols from their parents but that they themselves picked up these idols from their surroundings. These particular idols demanded child sacrifice to offer up their protection to the people and the Israelites have allowed such despicable practices to be part of their culture. We must be careful in what we let into our lives because we are so easily corruptible! We are not to fear sin but we are not to underestimate it as well because we so often fall into sin when we underestimate the power of sin while overestimating our ability to resist it. If anything we are to not even engage in battle with sin but to close the door, separate, run from and not associate with it at all! We must be aware of what we choose to watch, hear, entertain, and act upon because it may seem harmless in the beginning but can grow into a thing that will even shock you in the end as that is a testament to the corrupting power of sin.
“Therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.”
A name change in the Bible is a reflection of a change in purpose or function. This place was called the place of “fire” and overtime has become the place where idol worship and sacrifice took over. This eventually was renamed the Valley of Slaughter because the place of their idol worship was also the place where the invading nation will come to slaughter the people of Judah. Where we will feel the most heartache and pain will be the places where we allowed sin to reign. We must therefore look at the places we have not been good gatekeepers of our hearts and minds to see what we have allowed to infiltrate to influence us before it has a chance to take root.
The end result of this sin is that the older generation will not see the redemption of God as they have chosen with finality their destiny to be apart from God. God’s grace is that though a generation has led and taught the next generation into sin and destruction, the future of Israel as a whole will be redeemed. Thus we see that in the midst of the refining and purging of sin, there will be much pain and destruction but it is a road that will lead to our benefit, joy, and growth.
For us what can we take away today? We have the free will to create the realities that we desire and a lot of us are doing that but my question to you is what reality are you creating and will it hold up in the presence of God? Will it be a reality that God will be pleased to bless and let it endure or will it be consumed in His righteous judgment?
Today let us take our job as gatekeepers seriously for the seriousness to how we approach this task will determine the realities that we will forge.