Sin goes all the way to the bone and to the bottom of our preconceived notions. One of its most treacherous characteristics is that it is under the skin and not readily apparent from the outside. It also distorts our vision in time and we can’t see it no matter how hard we might 09 lamplook for it. Paul told the Corinthians that Satan had blinded their minds so even when confronted with the truth they could not comprehend it. It seems this was the case with Israel during Jeremiah’s day. After comparing them to an adulterous, a corrupt branch, and irremovable stain, he now confronts their denial of their situation. In Jeremiah 2:23 he says, “How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’?  Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done.”

Nearly every commentator agrees with Dearman who writes, “The valley mentioned in verse 23—where the people seek the Baals—is likely the Valley of Hinnom, which runs on the southern and western sides of the city of Jerusalem. It is also the probable site of child sacrifice to Molech or Baal (see also 7:30–34).[1] Davidson adds, “It is a measure of how deeply addicted the people are that they see nothing wrong in such practices. Evil brings its own distorted sense of values.”[2] Another commentator explains the reason for their blindness to their sin. Mackay says, “…they defend and deceive themselves with appeals to their orthodoxy, the Solomonic temple, the functioning Levitical ministries.”[3] Since they continued the external practices of their religious rights and rituals they argued that they had not become defiled. But Jeremiah makes it clear that their practices are no different than those of the pagans all around them.

Jeremiah calls them to “know” or consider what they have done. Mackay says, “It was not that they were unaware of the facts of their conduct. Rather they lacked the discriminating knowledge to be found by assessing their behavior in the light of the demands of the covenant Lord on them.”[4] My wife works with Assure Women’s Center. They work with woman thinking about abortion. Recently they had one customer, a high school senior, who argued that she had to have an abortion in order to fit into her prom dress. Further, she argued that the soul of her baby was floating around in never-never land awaiting the assignment of a body and if it didn’t get this body it would get the next body available. What foolishness! God’s word makes it clear, as Jeremiah pointed out at the beginning of his book, that God knows us from eternity past and before he made us in our mother’s wombs. This customer was ignorant of God’s word and was able to justify her decision by irrational thinking. I can’t help but wonder what issues I might rationalize because I don’t understand God’s word?

[1] J. Andrew Dearman, Jeremiah and Lamentations, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2002), 60.

[2] Robert Davidson, Jeremiah, vol. 1, The Daily Study Bible Series (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1983), 32.

[3] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 157.

[4] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 157–158.