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Ezra and Nehemiah: Matthew 2:7-18

Ezra and Nehemiah: Matthew 2:7-18

 

In the past couple of devotions, we saw the Lord fulfilling his promise to bring his people back to Jerusalem and to rebuild his house. There, he would reestablish worship – the sacrifices and the festivals appointed in the Book of Moses. We also saw how God’s enemies opposed this project in order to discourage God’s people and to make them doubt God’s promises.

Jesus also faced opposition. Let’s look at Matthew 2:7-18:

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18   “A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.”

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As soon as Jesus had been born, King Herod tried to destroy him. Herod did not want to lose power. For their part, the Romans were not interested in a power struggle or in a Jewish civil war over who was the leader of the Jews. However, the appearance of a rival king could cause political instability. As soon as the Lord’s work became manifest, Satan and the Lord’s other enemies set out to hinder and to stop him – even if it meant his life.

The devil, the world, and our sinful flesh do want the Lord to save us and to dwell with us forever. The success of Jesus is the defeat of Satan. Since the devil hates all of God’s creation and all that is good, he wants to prevent Jesus from saving his people. We can see that in our own lives and in our world. There are governments around the world who prohibit the distribution of Bibles or religious materials. My own sinful flesh fights against hearing the Word of God and going to the Lord’s Supper. It’s important to recognize the struggle, but not to be overwhelmed. God is in control. Despite all the opposition to Jesus, Jesus won. Despite all the opposition to the Gospel since the beginning of time, God’s plan of salvation won. And now he has plans to take you and me to heaven.