Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Threat: King Herod

Image from "The Nativity Story" ©2006 New Line Cinema
     Herod was livid.  The wise men had promised to return from Bethlehem and report their findings, but God had warned them in a dream to journey home another way.  The Magi never returned to Jerusalem.  They did not trust Herod, nor his desire to "worship the young child." Truly, the sages were relieved.

     But not Herod. This lit a fire in his being which began a horrendous event that would be remembered by Jewish mothers throughout the ages. "Brutus, gather the army IMMEDIATELY," ordered the king.  "Make haste; search for this threat to my kingdom and destroy it!  If you cannot find him, kill every male child in the village from two years and younger.  He must not live.  Go...NOW!"

     Brutus obeyed.  It was this very army Joseph caught sight of on their way out of Bethlehem.  The thundering sound of hooves awakened the townspeople.   Little did they know, although it was prophesied, that soon their young sons would be ripped from their arms and slaughtered.

     Screaming. Chaos. Moaning. Confusion. Sobbing. The night was full of sounds and turbulence.  Of bedlam.  There was no mercy, no time for contesting.  Doors were broken down, torches swung into the still dark rooms of sleepy households.  Babes grabbed unmercifully from mother's arms.  Grabbed from the place where they laid asleep just minutes ago, dreaming in peace.  Woe to the male child, who was identified as such, dragged screaming from the abode, and slaughtered in the street.  

     The blood ran first with a trickle, and then with what seemed to be a stream.  Running down towards the valley, where the sheep lay quietly grazing, unaware of the turmoil above them. Then the words of the prophet Jeremiah came to be: "In Ramah was there were voices of lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning. Rachel was weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they had perished."

    Many years from now, blood from another lamb, the precious "Lamb of God" would trickle down a wooden cross.  But this time, the flow would save, and not destroy those in its path.  Fathers lost their only sons this night, but one day, God would not only lose, but offer up, His son for the salvation of all the world.

     Receive the Gift. . .
                                  not only the Christ Child in the manger, but the Son of God on the cross. He came to save and not destroy those who come to Him.

"For God SO loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
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