After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” (Matthew 2:13, NLT)
The renowned 19th century Bible expositor J. C. Ryle said, “The rulers of this world are seldom friendly to the cause of God.”
How true! And nowhere is that truth more evident than in Matthew 2 when King Herod tried to kill God’s greatest cause, the infant Jesus. This is the original story of the real Grinch who didn’t just try to steal Christmas, he tried to kill Christmas.
It’s a bizarre story when you think about it; it doesn’t seem to belong in the Christmas account. I’ll bet you won’t get a card next Christmas depicting Herod killing the babies of Bethlehem. While you might see the “Nutcracker Suite”, you’re not likely to attend the “Slaughter of the Innocents”. Your music director will likely lead the congregation to sing “Away In A Manger”, but not “Away With the Baby Jesus!”
It is a part of the story we would just as soon forget, but there it is, tucked into the Christmas story by God’s design for our benefit and encouragement. I think it’s there, in part, because Herod was just the first of a long line of Grinches right up to this day that are always trying to kill our Christmas and steal our joy and destroy the incarnational plan of God in our lives. Jesus, who was obviously and personally familiar with “the Grinch”, said in John 10:10,
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
Here is one of the things I believe the Holy Spirit, who inspired at Mathew’s account, wanted you to know from this story: Back then, Herod couldn’t destroy Jesus, and right now, no ruler, no person, no force, no circumstance, no disappointment can stop the cause that God has birthed in you! God is committed to giving you “a rich and satisfying life”, both now and for all eternity!
What cause has God birthed in you? Has some real life Grinch in the form of a person or a circumstance tried to steal it from you? Take your concern to God and trust. Memorize and pray back Psalm 138:8 to God all week long:
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me!”