When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, for this is what the prophet has written: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 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.Matthew 2: 3-8
Was this really what Herod intended- to worship Jesus? Why was he disturbed? Well he was Herod the Great, King of the Jews – but he had no right to this title and many Jews despised him for it. If Jesus really was the rightful heir, then no way would he let that happen. Prophets had said the arrival of the Messiah was soon, so Herod was alert, ready to take action. His plan was to kill Jesus.
The Jews were uniquely a people of remembrance and anticipation. They were connected to stories of God’s acts in the past and believed His promises for the future. Not a bad principle for us too! We know from Scripture that when God is working out His purpose through His people, he is not about to let the malign plans of others get in the way. What hope this gives us! He will use any means to achieve our good and His glory. We can trust Him even when we are up against hard times.
Have you ever felt under pressure from circumstances beyond your control? Ever faced a situation with dread? Ever wondered how God might appear for you? Back in the 80s, we were in that position and I will never forget the evening. It was early June, yet the sky went black and a thunderstorm began with torrential rain. We were arriving at a critical meeting in fear and trepidation. As we ran across the road to the venue, a man under an umbrella was outside; he turned towards us and said: God told me to be here to show His love for you. It was an angel!! Well actually it was a dear man well known to people in our church, who had somehow heard of our plight and weathered the storm to encourage us. I cried – and I was already soaked – but I was borne up in a remarkable way through the awful meeting that night.
God knows what we need – and often it is His people who respond to His prompting, who deliver on His promise that He will not leave us or forsake us. I look back with deep gratitude on our angel!
Just like the Jews, God calls us to remember who we are and what we are to be. We are destined to a better way of life – not just for us but for all with whom we share the world. We are people of Hope. A sure and certain hope, a hope that breeds confidence because ‘he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.’
The Wise Men had no doubt they would find the new-born king and with this hope they mounted their camels and headed off to find him. And so it is with us, facing the relentless onslaught of the corona virus; it is our biblical hope that enables us to weather this storm. That baby, through His life and death, came to be our Hope. Our faith is in Him. Jesus will never fail us.
The ‘daily share’ is a hint each day for how you could share some hope in your life, today.
Could you be an angel to someone else – to encourage them, support them, remind them of God’s love, bring them new hope? Jesus says: Whatever you do for these brothers of mine, you do for me.
Hazel is a retired teacher, trainer, trustee and adviser. She has 2 sons, 2 daughters and 11 grandchildren. She is a singer, writer and student of culinary medicine and how to enjoy later years.