December 26 – Matthew 2:13-18. God’s Protection.

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26 – Matthew 2:13-18.  God’s Protection.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

Herod was furious! People simply didn’t ignore his commands, especially when those commands were so desperately important to his reign.

In his rage, he ordered the deaths of young boys in the region where the wise men had landed. In his eyes, it was better to be safe than sorry.

While there are historical questions regarding this massacre of the innocents (there is no public record of it), the simple fact is that in that area surrounding Bethlehem, it was very rural and there may have been as few as twenty children killed. While it would have been traumatic for the families and the community, it would not have registered in the annals of his reign.

God’s grace and mercy are greater than humanity’s rage.  Before the words were uttered by Herod, God sent an angel to Joseph to command him to leave with Mary and the child and flee to Egypt.  Once more they were traveling, but this time it was to safety.

God prepared the world for the coming of His Son and He continued to care for His Son offering protection and safety when danger approached.  As God’s adopted children through Jesus Christ, we can hold on to the promise that God will also protect us, if only we listen for His voice and obey Him.