16 When Herod realised 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. (Matthew 2:16)
It seems to me that there’s a lot of anger to be faced in this verse. Not only Herod’s but possibly also our own.
This translation mentions that Herod was furious. That sounds like it might be the next step up from angry. He was furious that he had been deceived, or made a fool of, by the Magi. In his anger he lashed out. He ordered that all male children, two years old and under, in and around Bethlehem, be killed. How terrible it must have been for those in Bethlehem. We are unsure of the number of boys killed, or the number of families affected by this. However many boys were killed, it’s too many. None should have been killed.
This is the type of verse that might evoke strong feelings, such as anger, in us as well. We might have questions such as, ‘how could this happen?’, ‘why would anyone want to kill helpless children?’, or ‘why would Herod kill every male child in the vicinity, when he only wanted to kill one?’
Verses like these are also difficult to reconcile with the existence of a loving God. People often have questions such as, ‘if God is real then why would he allow that to happen?’ Obviously that question can be applied more widely, such as to specific and current events or circumstances. The only answer I can give is this: God sent Jesus to earth as the human version of Himself. Jesus represents all that God is. God is good. But, like Jesus, He uses His power to serve, not to dominate. He will not use His power to control. He will bring good out of all circumstances, even if we can’t fully see that yet. Of course, it’s OK to ask questions and express feelings. He can take it.
This is part 29 of 31 daily reflections for December 2017.
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