People of the Nativity – Day 10
- Matthew 2:16-18
When Herod realized that the visitors from the east had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighbourhood who were two years old and younger — this was done in accordance with what he had learned from the visitors about the time when the star had appeared. In this way what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true: “A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping. Rachel is crying for her children; she refuses to be comforted, for they are dead.”
I’ve always found the murder of all the boys under the age of two one of the most disturbing accounts in the Bible. What kind of a king orders a massacre of innocents?
There’s enough historical evidence of Herod’s character for us to know that this is exactly the sort of ruler he was. He had a brother-in-law, three of his sons and one of his wives killed because he thought they were plotting against him. It’s rumoured that Caesar Augustus went so far as to say, “Better to be Herod’s pig than his son”.
As awful as it is, Matthew tells us this story to remind us that it is impossible to avoid the spiritual conflict raging around us. It shows us that there are many who shall suffer at the hands of the devil in his war against God, and also reminds us that God never promises to spare us from the wrath of the devil in this world. In fact, Paul says that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12).
So does God leave us to fend for ourselves? Not at all. God is not silent or busy or uncaring. God’s peace is provided through Jesus Christ to help us endure the chaos of our present world. God’s peace is not the absence of conflict but the answer for conflict. Remember Jesus’ words when he said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).