Morning: Matthew 2:13-18; Noon: Romans 12:1-15:6; Evening: Psalm 18:24-37
June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a professing allegiant to the Islamic States, carried out America’s deadliest massacre by a single shooter ever witnessed. Omar entered an Orlando nightclub and massacred 49 victims. As atrocious and condemnable such bloodshed may be, it cannot compare to the massacre witnessed in the days of Herod when Jesus was born. The description of the victims who died by the hands of Herod were a far cry from that which we read about at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fl.
Matthew does not describe Bethlehem and its districts hosting a gay nightclub featuring, “three glitzy, throbbing rooms of club boys, twinks and twinks at heart… impressive drag shows,” and bar dancers, as was descriptive of the Pulse. The victims of Bethlehem were the shining faces of innocent newborns, babes, and infant male children, all of whom were two years old and younger. These little ones had committed no sexual immorality to provoke the death wishes of a killer, but rather had become the mere victims of a jealous king set out to destroy the newborn King, Jesus. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. “The voice of Rachel weeping in Ramah,” was likely the place in and around Bethlehem where she would give hard labor to Benjamin and meet her end (Cf. Gen. 35:16-20). It is a reminder of the poor mothers who were equally if not greater victims of the massacre suffered.
There is a sense in which you also labor with pangs to bring forth the Christ into your life. Paul himself called the churches of Galatia, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). And in that process, you also, like the mothers of Bethlehem will suffer persecution from the vessels of Satan. Your efforts will be as pure as a newborn babe, but through the destructive pursuits of selfish ambitions, you will need to take flight from sin and do all that you can to protect the newborn Christ in you. Those pursuing the things of this world will entice you as Herod did the magi to walk as they walk, “But you, O man of God, flee these things” (1 Tim. 6:11). Be assured that with time, when the New Testament Child is fully grown in you, you will become a mighty warrior for Him and bring many more with you (Eph. 6:11).
Remember the words of Jesus who said… “As soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish…”