“Ahaz…did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as his father David had done. But he…made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out from before the children of Israel.” (2 Kings 16:2-3)
One of the vile practices of ancient Baal worshippers was child sacrifice. Although carried out by different means, one practice was particularly heartless. A roaring fire would be built inside a large idol, and a pagan priest would place a naked infant onto the red-hot hands of the statue. The screaming, convulsing child would burn to death in a few moments.
God repeatedly warned His people against imitating the cruel practices of the Canaanites. Moreover, the Israelites were to maintain strict separation from them and their wicked customs. Unfortunately, many Israelites (including several kings) mimicked some of their vile religious rituals. The aforementioned incident is a graphic example.
Such practices appall us today. We wonder how anyone could be so heartless as to burn an innocent child to death in the name of religion. Before pointing fingers, however, we might examine our own behavior. For example, how much time do we allow our children to spend in front of a television or computer screen, I-Pad, smart phone or game system as compared with the amount of time they spend reading or listening to God's word, or attending Bible classes?
Although not all television shows, videos, games or computer programs are evil, they are capable of becoming “altars”. If we permit our children to spend too much time in front of them, they may ultimately end up “burning” in a lake of fire and brimstone – Rev. 21:8.
As Christian parents, God expects us to make sure our children spend as much time as possible before HIS “altar” – the word, Bible classes, worship, and service activities. The more time they spend at God’s “altar” while young, the less likely they are to “burn” later on.
“…fathers…bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)
Jesus, always Jesus!