May 1, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

Growing up in Illinois, my parents often took vacations in Ludington, Michigan. Friends of theirs had a residence on Hamlin Lake just east of Lake Michigan. I have wonderful memories of those carefree days of learning to waterski, jumping down sand dunes the size of small mountains, eating ice cream at Barnhart’s Marina, and the garbage dump. Yes, the garbage dump. One of our favorite activities was to join the “townies” after dark at the town garbage dump. With cars ringing the dump all with headlights shining we would watch the bears pawing through the garbage looking for dinner or an after dinner snack. It was fascinating! Garbage dumps are favorite snack shacks for bears.

Garbage dumps have been around since the beginning of creation. Consider Jerusalem. Because Jerusalem was a clean city and not to be defiled by garbage or dead animals, everything had to be tossed into the garbage dump (including the corpses of the poor and indigent!). Had Joseph of Arimathea not intervened, it would have been the final earthly resting place for Jesus’ body! The Jerusalem garbage dump was located outside the southwest wall of the city. It was known as Gehenna (lit. “valley of Hinnom”) or Topheth (“Valley of Dead Bones”).  The word Gehenna is used twelve times in the New Testament, eleven of those by Jesus Himself. Jesus used it as a word picture to describe the punishment of the damned.

In the Old Testament, Gehenna was where the wicked kings of Judah practiced idolatry and worshiped Moloch. They sacrificed their babies by placing them into a furnace shaped like the god and immolating them. Good king, Josiah, ended this despicable practice. The parallels between that monstrous sin and the idolatry of abortion today are too similar to be ignored.

Like Gehenna, Christ became the garbage dump for you and me. On that cross, Jesus took all our sins, past, present, and future, and died for them. He became the ultimate garbage dump. We dump our garbage on Him through confession. He takes all of it, died for it, and applies His shed blood to cleanse it. Like Jerusalem, God wants to dwell in clean, undefiled vessels without garbage. That’s why He sent Christ to die for our sin garbage that we might live in cleanness. “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from ALL sin” (1 John 1:7).

Praise God for His soul-cleansing Son,