Jump Start # 2720
Matthew 2:18 A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.”
Our verse today is not one that you’ll find in devotional books. You won’t find this cross-stitched on pillows. Weeping, mourning and no comfort is not the kind of stuff that grabs our attention and holds us captivated. Most would rather do all that we can to avoid weeping, mourning and being uncomfortable.
The passage is a quotation out of Jeremiah. There it is used of Judah being taken into Babylonian captivity. It was very tough times. The walls came down. The Temple was burned. People died. Others were taken captive. It was a time of tears and mourning. Jeremiah would write, Lamentations—a book of mourning. Yet, before that, in the days of Genesis, around Ramah, is where Rachel gave birth to Benjamin. Rachel died in childbirth. She named the son, Ben-oni, which meant the child of my sorrow. Jacob renamed him ‘Benjamin.’ Now, all these years later, in the time of the Gospels, these thoughts and this statement resurfaces. Herod, angry because the wise men tricked him and jealous because a new king had been born, set a decree to slaughter all the baby boys two years old and younger. He thought he could stop what God was doing. And, in this setting, Jeremiah is quoted, reminding of the days of tears, mourning and heartache. Those poor mothers around Bethlehem who had their little boys killed felt an emptiness, anger and helplessness. This would be a major attack upon their faith. How could God sit back and allow this? This was being done to God’s people? These little boys hadn’t done anything wrong.
I have a little grandson about that age. We spent a long time playing together the other day. Cute. Innocent. Full of life. Loves to run. Loves to call me “PJ.” I can’t even fathom the government coming and putting him to death. The tears, mourning and heartache of this passage is beyond our understanding.
There are some lessons for us:
First, all of those innocent baby boys that died filled Heaven. Pure. Sinless. They await us someday in that Heavenly home. Wicked Herod doesn’t have an eternity of joy and peace. The heartless soldiers that put those little boys to death join Herod in an eternity worse than anything they ever imagined. While those boys didn’t get to grow up, they are not gone. They are not lost. They are in Heaven’s arms and there they are safe forever.
Second, fairness doesn’t happen on this side of life. The innocent suffer. Right gets walked upon. Good is defeated. And, all of that just troubles us. We want the story to end victoriously. And, it does and it will, but not on this side of life. Satan smiles because he thinks he wins. He doesn’t. Those that dance with Satan think that they can do as they please and get away with things. It’s only for a short, short time. Time on this side of life isn’t long. Time on the other side, the eternal side, never ends. That perspective helps us to deal with the evil, the wicked and the wrong. It won’t be very long and we are on the other side. There we will see fairness. There we will see all things right. There we will never be troubled again.
Third, God recognizes the tears and the mourning of the heartbroken. He knows. He sees. Does Jesus care, we sing. And, we know the answer. The chorus shouts, “Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares.” The comfort is not in miracles. The comfort is not in rewinding and reversing what has been done. The comfort lies ahead of us. It is an eternity with the Lord.
People deal with grief and hardships in different ways. Even within a marriage, men and women mourn differently. One is not better than the other. It’s basically how we are wired. But we men tend to keep things within us. We don’t talk and we especially do not want to talk about the tragedies. And, many men do not have close friendships, again a nature of how many of us are wired. So, men tend to bottle things up. And, usually at some point later on, all that needs to come out. If it doesn’t they can explode and that explosion can hurt family and others. Having someone to talk to, especially someone that doesn’t say much, but just will listen. Often there are no solutions to be found. There are not changes that can be made. A hurting heart needs comfort. This is one of the important aspects of our fellowship. This is something that we need and keeps us going. This is where true Christian friends make a difference. They will comfort, remind and keep us close to the Lord. Friends of the world may hand you a bottle to forget your pain. But the bottle doesn’t do that. One wakes up and nothing has changed. A Christian friend makes all the difference.
Fourth, time always helps with healing. This is true after surgery. This is true with broken friendships. This is true with grief. Time helps. Tragic events, especially when someone is at fault, can taint us and even ruin us. Can you imagine being a parent in Bethlehem that had your little boy killed because Herod said so. Every time you saw a soldier, the anger would rise up. Every time you heard the name Herod, your blood would boil. I don’t know how I would have done had it happened to my family. But I know how God would have expected me to continue walking with Him. God would want me to pour my heart out to Him in prayer. God would want me to honor and praise Him in worship. Getting revenge is not on the list of what God would want me to do. Living with hatred is not what God would want me to fill my days with. Speaking evil of Herod is not the choices God would want from me. Even though a baby boy of mine was slaughtered, God would not want me to grab a sword and go after the next Roman soldier I saw. God expects us to walk in righteousness even when angry, sorry and hatred want to take over our lives.
Herod’s dead. There is no decree to kill baby boys today. Yet, we’ve had an election. Things may be reversing from what was. What is my spirit? How is it that God expects me to live? What am I saying, complaining about, posting on social media, liking on social media?
Tears and mourning. Tough times. The righteous must stand upon the promises of God.