While abortion is not specifically mentioned in Scripture, we can glean insights from God’s response toward a culture who regularly practiced the killing of babies. The Lord was particularly intolerant of the act among His own people.
After Israel had experienced God’s magnificent grace, they turned to worship the gods of other nations. 2 Kings 17:17-18 gives insight into Israel’s practice of child sacrifice, “And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel…”
Even though the prophets of God warned Israel not to adopt the wicked religious practices of heathen nations, in their rebellion they did exactly that. But why? What on earth were God’s people thinking? God had shown Himself mighty on Israel’s behalf when He brought them out of Egyptian captivity. How could they forget the God of their fathers? What made the false gods of other nations so appealing that they could be persuaded to believe that burning their babies on an alter would somehow bring them prosperity and peace?
What the Bible Does Not Say about Abortion
As with any sin a believer doesn’t just wake up one day and say, “Hey, how about we do what the heathens are doing and burn our babies on altars too?” Satan knows Christians aren’t likely to jump to idolatry if they’re genuinely worshiping God. So, he begins to undermine true worship by tempting you to replace it with the captivity of activity or religious rituals –– because religion leads to rebellion if it’s not grounded in love for Christ. And in a state of rebellion, Christians can see things like abortion in shades of gray, rather than black or white.
Another one of Satan’s tricks is to seduce Christians to find their worth in a relationship with a person. Attempting to find value from another person is a form of idolatry because God created you to find your worth in His great love for you. Becoming sexually active outside of marriage makes one vulnerable to Satan’s schemes, so believers end up justifying sinful acts. Think of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11.
Abortion is not a political issue, it’s a matter of the heart. Ending abortion among Christians will not happen through politics but through prayer and equipping them with the truth one person at a time. You can read more here about my experience as a teen abortion accomplice.
When the Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt they joyfully worshiped God. Singing in heartfelt gratitude:
“The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation;
He is my God and I will praise Him; My father’s God and I will exalt Him.”
In this state of worship, Israel wasn’t likely to follow false gods. However, as time went by and life got hard God didn’t seem near, and Israel forgot the Lord and became seduced by false religious practices. The same thing can happen to us today. It’s easy to celebrate God’s amazing kindness when one surrenders to Christ. But if you don’t regularly meet with God through Bible study, worship, prayer, and fellowship with Christians it’s easy to look at what the world is doing and long for the same “blessings” they seem to receive. So, beware, even the Psalmist was tempted to long for what the heathen had:
“But as for me, my feet almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…” (Psalm 73)
In ancient times, the practice of baby sacrifice was put in place to persuade demonic gods to bless them with prosperity. For example, Ruth, the Moabite, grew up in a pagan land. An article on Ruth from Moments with the Book explains that “the priests of Moab were powerful and cruel, and they served an assortment of gods. But the most feared god of all was Chemosh… Chemosh’s lap was so constructed that little children placed on its red-hot surface would roll down an inclined plane into his fiery belly.”
Let’s Give Hope to the Lost
Imagine how Ruth must have been intrigued to learn from her mother-in-law, Naomi, of Israel’s kind, forgiving, and loving God. The book of Ruth shows how God orchestrated the steps of this heathen woman to learn of His love for her to make her His own. Sadly, Ruth 1:15 reveals how when times got hard, Orpah (Ruth’s sister-in-law) turned back to her gods, who promised prosperity through child sacrifice. But Ruth clung to Naomi and said:
“Entreat me not to leave you or turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go. And wherever you lodge I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God…” (Ruth 1:16-17).
Let’s learn from Naomi’s example. She could have shouted condemning words at Orpah as she turned back to Chemosh. Would that have changed Orpah’s mind? Maybe. But instead, Naomi’s love for both of her daughters-in-law overshadowed her relationship with them. And because of Naomi’s love for God, and zeal to return to her homeland where He alone was worshiped, Ruth caught hold of Naomi’s fervor and longed to follow her toward the God who promised redemption.
In the same way, we must realize that countless women today are growing up under the false belief that abortion promises prosperity. Shouting obscenities at them (whether in person or on social media) is not going to change their minds. In their darkness they may think that abortion is their only option because they’re too poor to support a child, or that having a baby will interrupt their education or career goals. The god of this world blinds their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4), and without Christ they cannot see past his lies.
Abortion: Modern Choices for a Modern Age?
Liz was fifteen when she fell in love with Lee, a popular boy at school. She couldn’t believe it when Lee invited her to prom! Even though her single mom was apprehensive about allowing Liz to attend the dance with Lee, she gave permission because she knew how devastated Liz would be if she said no. Prom was all Liz hoped it would be. Her dress and makeup were amazing. The limousine Lee rented was exquisite. Liz thought everything about the night was perfect –– until their ride home when things turned not-so-perfect.
After the dance Liz was delighted when Lee asked the driver to drive around. While he and Liz enjoyed the ride Lee began to pressure her for sex. Liz said, “I’m not ready to have sex.” But Lee responded, “I wanted this night to be perfect. I spent all this money so your first time would be memorable.” As Lee continued coaxing Liz she eventually gave in and they had sex. Afterward Liz felt regret. Last summer she’d attended a youth camp where the speaker taught the value of remaining sexually pure for marriage. She’d promised herself she was going to wait, but then there was Lee.
She thought, If I told Lee ‘no’ he wouldn’t like me anymore. She reasoned, There are lots of girls who’d happily sleep with Lee. And giving myself to him will make Lee want only me. Liz was lost in thought until the limousine pulled up to her house. As she got out of the car, Lee kissed her on the cheek and said goodnight. Before she even got to the front door the limo drove away. When her mom met her at the door Liz shared all the details of the night, except for the part about them having sex. For now that would be her and Lee’s little secret –– or so she thought.
On Monday Liz realized Lee hadn’t kept their secret, rather he’d told all of his friends about their encounter. Liz felt ashamed and betrayed. When she confronted Lee about his indiscretion he responded harshly and gave her the cold shoulder. The coldness lasted for months. Although Liz was deeply wounded by Lee’s cavalier attitude, she finally decided to do her best to forget about the whole night. She thought she was going to be alright until she realized she was pregnant.
Liz’s mom responded with unexpected compassion when Liz told her about the pregnancy. After the two cried together, Liz’s mother explained her only option was to schedule her for an abortion. Liz trusted her mother and was ready for the whole thing to be put behind her, so eliminating the pregnancy seemed to be the best decision. But she did have some questions. So, Liz got online to do a little research. She learned that the legalization of abortion in America occurred in the 1970’s, while her mother was an adolescent. Liz also stumbled across sites showing evidence that the life of a baby begins at conception. They suggested that abortion was more than eliminating unwanted tissue, rather it was ending the life of an unborn child. The ultrasound videos compelled Liz to reconsider having an abortion.
When Liz asked her mom’s opinion, she was shocked by how angry her mother became. She scolded Liz for reading “pro-life propaganda” and insisted abortion was not murder. She went on to explain, “We are no longer in the dark ages. Women have power over their own bodies and they’re the ones who get to choose whether or not they’re ready to carry a child in their womb. And believe me Liz, you are not ready to be a mother!” Liz thought, Mom used the word, ‘child.’ A word that would haunt her private thoughts as the date for the abortion approached. Late at night Liz pondered, Is this tissue or a child? And if it is a child how can I possibly take its life?
Since Liz didn’t want anyone else to know about the pregnancy, she decided to trust her mom’s advice. But after the abortion she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d made a horrible mistake. She thought, I’ve heard that God hates abortion. Does God hate me? Will He ever forgive me? Liz’s story is a fictional one, but maybe you can relate to it. It’s a tale that far too often plays itself out in the lives of young women across the country. If you’re pro-life it may be easy for you to grow angry toward a woman who would consider aborting her child. Instead, let’s realize that there are countless women out there looking for answers about abortion –– maybe you’re one of them.
What Should You Do Now?
Preaching how God hates abortion has its place because He calls us to speak His truth in our generation, but it must be done in love and gentleness. God’s most interested in drawing lost sinners to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.
Rather than growing angry toward their ignorance what if:
You asked God to give you His compassion for them?
You asked Him to help you share the hope of forgiveness to even one person burdened with shame?
You prayed fervently for God to save them?
The purpose of God’s commands are to show people their sin so they’ll recognize their need for a Savior. What if having an abortion was the breaking point for a woman who otherwise would’ve believed she was a “good person?” What if her shame over her sin is what leads her to repentance? Will you be the one to show her the Way to Salvation?
Now as in ancient times, the heathen will do what the heathen will do. God does hate abortion, but He loves people and is compassionate toward those who are held in sin’s bondage. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And He calls us to do the same.