Appreciation the gospel of matthew and why it matters - part 6 - religious studies
Herod Kills the Children
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male brood in Bethlehem and in all that county who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled what was verbal by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, crying and loud lamentation, Rachel dirge for her children; she refused to be comforted, for the reason that they are no more.
The 5th Forecast Fulfilled
Matthew is enduring to encourage us of Jesus' Messianic individuality by pointing out the many procedures in Jesus' early life that fulfilled Old Authentication prophecies. In this passage, the forecast is that of Jeremiah, verbal six hundred years beforehand its fulfillment.
When the wise men did not come back to Herod, we are told that he became furious. The Greek word ancestors that he was enraged, that he lost check of himself and became consumed in his anger. This is what the ancestors of Jerusalem had feared when they first educated of the birth of a new king. King Herod's wrath was not poured out on the residents of Jerusalem, however, but on the helpless baby boys of Bethlehem.
We must not assume hundreds or thousands of family slain in this massacre. Bethlehem was a small village, and most scholars assess that only about two dozen family were killed. Nevertheless, this was a tragic and awful event. Jeremiah said, "A voice was heard in Ramah, dirge and loud lamentation, Rachel expression of grief for her children?" Ramah is a town about ten miles north of Bethlehem, on the other side of Jerusalem. Noticeably the howling in Bethlehem was not plainly heard in Ramah, but the bloodbath in Bethlehem was horrendous an adequate amount of that its possessions were felt as far away as Ramah. Jeremiah calls Bethlehem "Rachel" since it is in Bethlehem that Rachel is buried.
No One Is Exempt From Tragedy
This passage reminds us that no one - not even barely offspring - are safe from tragedy. Catastrophe is no respecter of persons. All associates of every age, race, and communal class will be subjected to some amount of tragedy in their lives.
Sometimes unbelievers are promised a life free of pain and catastrophe if they will give their hearts to Christ. This is a false promise. In fact, the Bible in point of fact guarantees that Christians will encounter tragedy. Jesus warned his disciples that they would face all sorts of tribulation, that they would be hated by all nations and delivered to their deaths. Even the great Advocate Paul, with his beefy faith in Jesus, was not past the worst the attention of sickness. When copy to the Christian Jews who were facing record harassment for their faith, the creator of Hebrews skilled that their harassment was intended by God for their good. "The Lord disciplines the one He loves," he said, "and chastises every son whom he receives. "
On the day after Christmas in 2004, southeast Asia was struck by a tsunami that took the lives of over a billet of a million people. Offspring and adults, poor and rich, believers and unbelievers - all were evenly vulnerable to the devastating wave. The event was labeled as one of the worst artless disasters in human history.
How be supposed to we answer to a tragedy like this? Ought to be angry at God? Must we even begin to have that He had something to do with the awful event? Believe Jesus' comeback to tragedy in Luke 13.
Some of Jesus' followers came to Him and clued-up Him of an outrage a short time ago caused by Pontius Pilate. It seems that Pilate had killed a add up to of Gentiles and mixed their blood with the blood of sacrifices. In recent times ahead of this, the tower in Siloam fell and killed eighteen people. How did Jesus answer back when these terrible occurrences were brought to His attention?:
"Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, as they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but except you repent, you will all as well perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others active in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but if not you repent, you will all as well perish. "
Jesus' point is that we are too often shocked by the wrong thing. Considerably than being appalled that God would have a cut up million ancestors die in a tsunami, we must be amazed at the fact that God is allowing 6. 5 billion sinners to still live. God is the author of all things, and He has the right to do with His conception doesn't matter what He wills - exclusive of needing our permission. If God so desired, He could take my life or your life at this very moment, and He would be good and just and right to do so. Indeed, at some point, He will do so. Each one has been appointed by God to die, and it is He who has intended when and where and how it will happen. So no one is exempt from tragedy.
Tragedies are a Part of God's Good Plan
We see this very noticeably in the terrible bloodbath in Bethlehem. Even if Herod acted hastily and furiously and out of the evil of his own heart, his measures were eventually a part of a plan much better than him. God had before now reputable that this event would happen, as Matthew makes clear by his inclusion of Jeremiah's prophecy.
This is a very awkward truth for many Christians to swallow. Would God certainly lay down for amazing evil to happen? Let me be very clear. I am not aphorism that God easily allows for evil clothes to happen, but I am going added and aphorism that God in point of fact ordains all measures - good and bad.
Would God especially cause evil belongings to happen? Bear in mind Job. He was the richest man of his time, ahead of God gave the Devil the power to take it all away. Job lost his livestock, his servants, his children, and his health. Yet in the midst of all this indescribable pain and suffering, Job says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I shall return, the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. "
Later, Job's wife approaches him and asks, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die. " Job's rejoinder is amazing: But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we collect good from God, and shall we not accept evil?"
Many of us in appraisal this story might want to protest. "Wait a minute, Job! You've got it all wrong! God did not take away your livestock, servants, and children. It was the Devil. Don't blame God!" Yet, just to make it rock clear that Job was closely right in what he said, the creator adds: "In all this Job did not sin with his lips. "
Yes, Satan was the agent of destruction who absolutely caused the tragedy in Job's life, but Job was well aware that it was God Himself who had certain for it to happen.
For a further example, care about the Egyptians. They hated God's ancestors who were under their captivity. Pharoah became overtaken with such hatred that he, in Herod-like fashion, prepared for all of the young Hebrew boys to be killed. Why were God's associates made to bear the hatred of the Egyptians? Psalm 105:25 tells us: "He [God] bowed their hearts to hate his people, to deal cunningly with his servants. " God was finally accountable for the anger that the Egyptians going to en route for His children.
Can you carry this kind of talk? Are you eager to acknowledge a God who is free to do doesn't matter what He wills?
Consider the Canaanites. In Joshua 11 we read of the many atypical Canaanite armies that came aligned with Israel in battle, all to be as you might expect defeated. Why did all of these citizens come to make war adjacent to Israel? The counter is shocking: "For it was the LORD's doing to harden their hearts that they must come alongside Israel in battle, in order that they be supposed to be caring to destruction and ought to be given no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses. "
Why did these armies go on to fight Israel and die? The Scripture is very clear: "It was the LORD's doing. "
Consider Jeremiah. He was select by God in the womb to foretelling to the colonize of Judah about the appearance destruction of Jerusalem. The ancestors discarded his message, and ultimately, Jeremiah witnessed the achievement of his prophecies. In his surveying the destruction, he laments of the damaged buildings, the dead bodies in the streets, and the lack of food that caused mothers to eat their own children. In the midst of this blow he says, "Who has oral and it came to pass, except the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?"
The prophet Amos once asked, "Does adversity come to a city, if not the LORD has done it?" In fact, if you start to think about it, you ought to be able to call to mind more than a few instances where God certain for a little tragic to take place. Was it not God who designed for the worldwide flood in Birth 7? Was it not God that caused fire and brimstone to fall on the associates of Sodom in conclusion for their sins? Was it not God that caused the Babylonians and the Assyrians to come alongside His own citizens in conclusion of their idolatry? Indeed, even despite the fact that Herod definitely acted on his own free will to murder the young boys in Bethlehem, his events fell right in step with God's unchangeable plan.
Three points need to be made as to God's control and man's freedom. (1) Associates do make real choices and are held responsible for those choices. No one will be able to bear with their sins by blaming God's sovereignty. (2) Nevertheless, at the end of the day the lot we do is a part of God's autonomous will. (3) All the same God has fated for colonize to do evil things, and is for that reason indirectly accountable for sin, His plans are good and just and He ashes blameless.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
If you are still struggling with the premise that God might establish a big name to do evil, believe the death of His Son. Definitely murder is anti God's moral will. The sixth appreciation speaks clearly: "Thou shall not murder. " So Pontius Pilate, the angry crowd, and the soldiers who positioned Christ on the cross will all have to come back with for their evil involvement in murdering Jesus. Yet the Bible makes it very clear that this very evil deed (Could there be a larger sin than murdering the Son of God?!) was fated by God Himself. Acts 2:23 says that Jesus was "delivered up according to the clear-cut plan and foreknowledge of God. " Isaiah 53:10 says it clearly: "Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief. "
Someone might ask, "If God had intended for Jesus to be killed by these people, how can God hold them accountable for their sin?" Care about Shakespeare's play Macbeth. In that play, Macbeth murders King Duncan. Who, then, is answerable for King Duncan's death? Clearly Macbeth is responsible, but also Shakespeare. It was Macbeth who most wanted to commit the murder and who acted upon that desire. Yet it was Shakespeare who was absolute over the whole event, and none of it could have taken place lacking the stroke of his pen.
God is the cause of history. It truly is "His story. " Despite the fact that we are answerable for all of our thoughts, words, and actions, it is God who works because of these belongings to accomplish His purpose.
Two Wrong Responses
Upon encountering this idea that God has fated all that takes place - both good and bad - some try and rebel adjacent to God's sovereignty.
Tori Amos, the rock star from North Carolina and the daughter of a Methodist minister, knowledgeable a miscarriage. "To the idea that this agonizing event may have been in God's will she responds, 'If it was, then I'm going to kick his . . . , since I'm not fascinated in "thy will be done. " As protect of this child, I required my will, not thy will. ' (Foster's Sunday Citizen, Nov. 15, 1998)"
Heather MacDonald wrote an editorial in Slate magazine soon after the aforementioned tsunami. She upper-class her judgment piece "He Has Gone Too Far This Time". It began this way: "In the wake of the tsunami disaster, it's time for believers to take a more positive role in world events. It's time to embargo God. Centuries of trusting worship have evidently created a monster?"
Her clarification to God's disobedient is preposterous: "Let the human race play hard to get. Dream God's discombobulation if, after the next mass butchery of human life, the hymns of praise and anger do not rise up. He checks the Sunday census; the pews are empty. Week after week, the churches and mosques are unattended?He starts to worry. Has he gone too far this time? Maybe he should've exercised his much heralded powers of intervention, the same powers that his former worshipers presupposed every time they prayed for him to cure a corruption victim, or get them into law school?And so, no longer assured an affectionate public, he starts to make nice. He calls back avalanches controlled to wipe out whole villages; he brings rain to drought-stricken communities; he cures hopelessly handicapped babies in the womb, or prevents such flawed conceptions ahead of they happen. He presents tokens of his love to malaria victims and offspring paralyzed by auto accidents. Africa blooms with peace and prosperity. "
Do you hear what Mrs. MacDonald is saying? She is proposing that if we just stick our noses up at God and garbage to love Him, commit not to worship Him, then maybe God will align up His act and stop ordaining evil things.
There are more than a few effects wrong with Mrs. MacDonald's perception of God. First, she seems to have this idea that God needs our worship, and that lacking it He will by hook or by crook befall lonely or depressed. This is easily untrue. God is not "served by human hands, as despite the fact that he looked-for anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. " Even if all mankind did junk to worship God, Jesus tells us in Luke 19:40 that "the very sand would cry out. "
Mrs. MacDonald also seems to accept as true that God would allow men to dictate what He does. This flies in the face of all that the Bible teaches. The clay does not tell the potter how it ought to be shaped, or what its aim ought to be. The clay is at all times at the mercy of the potter, never the other way around.
Her crucial mistake, however, is that Mrs. MacDonald believes that God is come what may behaving badly, when the truth is that all He does -EVERYTHING HE DOES - is good, right, just, and even loving, whether we perceive it that way or not.
The Worst Response
The most horrific comeback a Christian can have towards tragedy - whether it be the beat of baby boys in Bethlehem, a car calamity which paralyzes a person's body, or basically judgment out you have bane - is to deny God's control.
I was told that a all the rage preacher responded to the tragic dealings of 9/11 in this way: "Well, I guess there are some equipment God just can't control. " That is from tip to toe wrong. I would fairly deem that God has designed bad equipment and is running them out for good than to deem that He has no be in charge of over them at all. If God is not in control, then He is not trustworthy. What right does God have to agreement salvation, inner peace, and blessings if there are air force in the world that He cannot be in command of that might disrupt His plans? No. At all cost, at all the world might say, we must hold to the independence of God.
Are you going all through some sort of tragedy in your life? Has God brought you into a time of agitate or distress? Then be concerned about these words of Charles Spurgeon, and find comfort for your soul.
"There is no attribute more consoling to His brood than that of God's Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most brutal trials, they accept as true that Control has certain their afflictions, that Dominion overrules them, and that Independence will approve them all. There is naught for which the kids ought more intently to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all construction - the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands - the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by [unbelievers], no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most a selection of doctrine of the Control of the extreme Jehovah. Men will allow God to be all over the place but on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to alter worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to distribute alms and bequeath His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, not including consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust. "
Justin Nale is the member of the clergy of Mount Hermon Messenger Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Minster in Rocky Mount, NC - http://www. mhmbc. org
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