Although in prior chapters God appears to be demanding credit for the judgement and destruction that is coming on Jerusalem, laying the bones of their people around the destruction of their high places, Chapter 16 gives a peek at how far their wickedness had gone. God seemed to want to make it clear that he was responsible for what happened to his people, both blessing and punishment. Even though it wasn’t physically his hand but the hands of their enemies he wanted to make it clear that they knew he was behind it and he was their God. Is it possible God was “playing” a role he despised because of how pervasive and warped their evil had become…that he was stooping to use tactics of fear because it was the only emotion or influence they would respond to in their headlong pursuit of other gods (wanting desperately to be like other nations to the point of shocking even them with how exaggerated their behavior was). Rather than being an intended light to the nations displaying the glory of God they were an embarrassment to the nations displaying the most twisted and distorted forms of religion. In such brutal and tribal times was there another way for God to act?
Isn’t it perhaps a testament to the revolutionary influence of Christ over the ages that we can even sit here in our time perplexed by the violence of these old biblical accounts and even question whether scripture that describes the wrath of God is truly representing him…whether his prophets were truly speaking his very words rather than representing him the best they knew how. These are matters for deep reflection that perplex me. We truly need God’s Spirit to sift through the scriptures and to find the threads of the true spirit of Christ running through them.