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  • Writer's pictureJohn Njoroge

December 14

Scripture Reading

Matthew 2:16-18

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Jeremiah 31:15

Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

Reflection

Not Forgotten

 

This passage displays the human heart both at its worst and at its best. The murderous injustice of the ruthless Herod is contrasted with the fierce love in the heart of weeping Rachel. Although Herod appears to have won this round against his subjects by murdering their helpless babies, the truth is far different and even comforting. We have read the full story. We know that just as Pharaoh’s attempt to murder little Israelite boys failed to cut short the life of Moses who was destined to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, Herod never succeeded in eliminating the One destined to deliver humanity out of our bondage to sin and death.


But why Rachel? Matthew zooms in on an Old Testament character who best embodies the heart of God for children. She was the beautiful wife of Jacob who agonized over her inability to have children. At one point she cried out to her husband in desperation,

“Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1).

She eventually had a son, whom she named “Joseph”. The name means “add”, and it is Rachel’s prayer that God may add another son to her. Unfortunately, Rachel died giving birth to her second son, Benjamin. The fact that she died so young in circumstances imbued with her intense longings for children makes it easier to see why she would be so powerfully associated with weeping over children.


It is important to notice that Rachel’s weeping is spread across generations. Not only was Rachel weeping for children in her own day, but her name is invoked in Jeremiah 31:15 where she weeps over the Israelites as they are dragged into Babylonian captivity. In Matthew, Rachel is weeping over the children who have been murdered by Herod in his attempt to eliminate Baby Jesus. Rachel beautifully captures the heart of God for all children across all generations. God weeps over injustice against His own.  


When things don’t go as you had planned, God’s Word assures you that you are not the unfortunate victim of circumstances beyond your control. You are not a mere member of “the masses”. Nobody in the end gets away with injustice against people made in God’s image, which is every human being. If you’ve lost a child or a loved one, or suffered injustice, remember you are not forgotten. Rachel weeps with you. God sees you, and His Son came into this world to make all things right. And so, we remember and rejoice – our Redeemer has come!





Notes

Song: Mary's Boy Child, Christmas Songs and Carols.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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