So the psalm is raw when it comes to child sacrifice. There are at least four parallels with abortion.
1) It Is Called Sacrifice
One is that it is called “sacrifice.” Verse 37: “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters.” Sacrifice means that you give up something ordinarily considered valuable (a sheep or a bull) to gain something better—usually from a deity. Abortion in America is not done consciously with any desire to get blessing from a deity. But it is done to gain something “better” than the baby—that is what the whole debate is about. Is the gain greater than the loss? We need to be sure to see it in those terms: The life of a child is being sacrificed for something. What that “something” is defines the barbarity of our culture. I say that knowing full well how unimaginably difficult many unplanned pregnancies are. I do not make light of that. The issue is: How precious is the child? And will we trust God to make a way? This is what crisis pregnancy centers are devoted to.
2) They Are Sons and Daughters
Second, the child sacrifice in the psalm is described as the sacrifice of our sons and daughters. Verse 37: “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters.” He could have said “children.” But he says “sons and daughters.” This draws attention to two things. 1) They were sexually different. They were little boys and girls. And 2) they were family. This baby that is being sacrificed is family. And so it is with abortion. It is always a little girl or a little boy. And it is always family.
3) There Was Innocent Blood
Third, the psalm calls the sacrifice “innocent blood.” Verse 38: “They poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters.” This is the difference between the Canaanites who are to be punished and the babies who are to be protected. This is not a statement about original sin or the lack of it. This is the ordinary legal statement that we all depend on in court: Did I do anything to deserve the punishment other people are about to execute on me? Among other people babies are innocent. They do not deserve to be mistreated by other human beings.
God himself has an absolute right to give life and take it. And we may be sure that if he takes the little ones, he deals with them according to what they could know (Romans 1:18-20). I believe they are saved. But we today have no right to take their lives. In relation to us, they are innocent. And we are guilty if we take their life.
(I insert here a qualification so you will know where I stand. There is no time to develop it fully. If God is already taking a baby’s life inside his mother—through some catastrophic anomaly or mishap, and if it is clear that the baby cannot live outside the womb and that leaving the child will imperil the mother’s life—under those circumstances I do not think we sin against the baby or God by taking the baby and saving the mother. But that is not the case in 99+% of the abortions.)
4) It Is to Demons
Fourth, the psalm says that this innocent blood is sacrificed to demons and to idols. Verses 37-38: “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.” In 1 Corinthians 10:19-20, Paul deals with this connection between idols and demons. He says, “What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.”
In other words, Paul sees behind all idols not any true God, but only a world of demons that promote idolatry and therefore, without the worshippers even knowing about it, these demons receive tribute from their sacrifice. Two years ago, a group of Catholics and Protestants produced a document called “That They Might Have Life.” In it, they said this about abortion:
The blindness of so many to this moral atrocity has many sources but is finally to be traced to the seductive ways of evil advanced by Satan. Jesus says, “He was as murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).1
I think that is right. Which means that the sacrifice of our sons and daughters today is in a very true and profound sense a sacrifice to demons. The religious part of paganism may have fallen away in our modern Western world. The devil does it that way in today’s secular world. Otherwise, he would be laughed off the stage. And of course he wants me to be laughed at, not himself. So it all appears very secular, very rational, very non-religious, very high-sounding, when in truth it is very demonic.