Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land. 2 Kings 3:27

It was normal for a new king to have his authority challenged. So when Joram became king of Israel, following the death of his father Ahab, it wasn’t surprising that Mesha, the king of Moab rebelled and resisted paying tribute (verses 4-5). Joram’s intention in attacking Moab was simply to subdue the Moabites so they would continue paying tribute to Israel and he could re-establish Israel’s kingdom.

However, the battle became so important to Mesha that he sacrificed his firstborn son, in the mistaken belief that the gods would look favourably upon him and enable him to win the battle. Instead of growing up to be king the child becomes a sacrificial victim. How sad when parents sacrifice their children because of selfish ambition for power and control.

Some do this today. They live vicariously through their children. Perhaps pressurising them to obtain some sort of worldly achievement or success and use this to obtain status and prestige for themselves. Perhaps by insisting they become pastors or missionaries and thus satisfy a calling they couldn’t or wouldn’t fulfil themselves. Perhaps by bulling them into a profession they’re unsuited to or by not supporting their choices in sport or hobbies.

It isn’t God’s intention that we ever sacrifice our children. He made them unique individuals with their own set of abilities and talents. Forcing them into our plans for their lives deprives them of God-given opportunities. It also interferes with the plans God has for us which are far better than merely controlling the lives of our children.