Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Matthew 2:16, Herod's Awful Edict

It must have been only a matter of days before Herod realized the wise men were not coming back through Jerusalem.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
Mayhem is part of life in a fallen world. The moment Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, murder was soon to follow as their first son murdered their second, godly, son in cold blood. No one is exempt, not even the most godly.

Nothing escapes God’s notice. No one can thwart His plans or undermine His purposes.

Events never spiral out of God’s control, as if He lacked power or insight to control what goes on in our little planet. But what could possibly have been God’s plan here, as He allowed the desperately wicked and evil King Herod latitude to put all these precious babies and toddlers to death?

Anything and everything that happens in the lives of His people happen only by God’s permission, and always fulfill His purposes.

God always has a purpose in what He allows, even if we don’t know what it is. From our perspective tragedies look meaningless and senseless and chaotic. But God specializes in taking evil and bringing good out of it.

For every believing family during that awful time in Bethlehem, God had a plan for good.

Tragedy can serve as a wake-up call. Sometimes it takes the horror of some awful event to wake up the otherwise stubborn coma of unbelief. As one theologian put it,

“Pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.” (CS Lewis)

It is possible to embrace hope even in the middle of a tragedy. God’s hand is always held out to you in the middle of your suffering with the invitation to grab hold and count on Him to pull you through.

This world is not our final home. When terrible things happen, as happened to these shocked and grieving families so long ago, it is good to remember that this fallen, broken world, riddled with sin, is not our final home.

We were created for eternity and tragedy can never change that.

This is only a transition period, a prelude to what God really has in mind for us. The all-absorbing “now-ness” of our experiences severely limit our perspective. We want to rewind the tape, we look at how it could have been different, but God says “Look forward.” Look into eternity.

For all those who love Him, Jesus says “I AM preparing a place for you to take you to be with Me forever.

This world was not Herod’s final home either. He eventually did lose all the earthly things he had clutched and grabbed at, and killed so many people to keep his grip on: his throne, his crown, his power, his wealth, his accomplishments.

You can’t take anything with you into eternity but your sin. Scary thought! If you’d like to leave that behind you too then call on God! Ask Him to forgive you and fill your life with His own.

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