Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Devotion 12.20.16

A phase of the election process we probably either didn't know exist or rarely paid attention to, the Electoral College, is over as they met yesterday in their various state capitals to cast their ballots.  We know of this process and sequence this year because the election for our president in the United States has been less than traditional this past year or so.  What we learn as men of faith is that we are fallible creatures after the fall of man, and this fallibility invades every aspect of life, from governing ourselves as individuals to governing at all levels.

This certainly played itself out when Christ entered the world, a very hostile world under a most cruel system.  Rome and the Romans used iron fists to rule and they used regional kings and governors to enforce a rule that was designed to send a clear signal. 

Consider the hostile environment Christ was born under King Herod, whom the Study Bible notes was named king of Judea by the Roman Senate in 40 BC.  In Matthew 2, Herod learns of the birth of the "king of the Jews" from the wise men.  After hearing this, Herod summons his chief priests and scribes who inform him from the book of Micah, "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah... for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people." (Matthew 2:6)  Herod uses the wise men to inform him of this "star" that appeared above the Christ, whom the wise men were searching for.  Herod uses a line that is revealing and disingenuous:  "Go and search for the child, and when you have found him, bring me world, that I too may come and worship him." (2:8)

The wise men were warned in a dream about Herod (2:12) and Mary and Joseph were warned in a dream and fled to Egypt.  Herod then plays his hand and begins to kill all the male children in Israel, age 2 and under, to snuff out this new "king" who would threaten his rule and stability over the region.

Today we observe the birth of Christ and soon we celebrate that birth in formal worship.  However, that birth and the subsequent years were not easy, and the birth marks the beginning of the promise that is fulfilled in Easter, where we learn nothing we do can overcome our sinful nature and the Christ we celebrate gives his own life to make perfect despite our imperfections.

Hope Men's Ministry

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