What does it say?
In the days when Herod was king, a group of magi came to Jerusalem from the east seeking another king recently born king of the Jews. The magi saw a special star; therefore, they came to investigate and this troubled Herod. Through the chief priest and scribes (biblical scholars) it was determined from scripture that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. (Mic. 5:2) Herod wanted these men to go to Bethlehem to locate the child and report to him but God warned them in a dream; therefore, the magi left for their own country but not before they worshiped Jesus and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. An angel of the Lord warned Joseph to escape to Egypt before Herod could destroy the Child. That night he took the Child and his mother to Egypt. Herod determined the approximate age of the child from the conversation with the magi and slew every male child in the vicinity of Bethlehem, two years of age and under. This fulfilled Jeremiah 31:15. After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take the Child and his mother back to the land of Israel. He settled them in a city called Nazareth in the region of Galilee because Archelaus, Herod’s son, was ruling in Judah.
What does it mean?
Magi were “a caste of wise men specializing in astronomy, astrology, and natural science. (NASB) They saw something in the sky that they connected to Jewish Messianic prophecy. Herod was troubled because he thought that his rule might be taken away from him. Herod must have lived in constant fear and mistrust. Herod tried to manipulate the magi to locate the child for him but when they did not, he proved himself to be an unjust ruler; therefore, unworthy to sit on the thrown. Can you imagine the outcry, if a ruler today had all of the babies in a town slaughtered? God warned through the prophet Jeremiah 32:15 that this would happen. Theodicy is the study of divine goodness and the existence of evil. God knew that all of the boy babies in Bethlehem would be slaughtered by Herod, yet he allowed him to do it. Why? The only answer given in the text was in fulfillment of prophecy. The life of Jesus from birth, to death, to resurrection was in fulfillment of divine prophecy. Jesus would affirm that only God is good. (Lk. 18:19) Why do some live a rich full life and only suffer after 80 plus years and others suffer and die young? I do not know but I do know that this instance showed that Jesus is the Messiah. The calling by God of Jesus out of Egypt was divine and his settling in a city in Galilee was divine.
What shall I do?
I shall not live my life, given to me by God, in fear and mistrust. What God has determined to occur will happen regardless of my actions. Herod could not prevent Jesus from sitting on the throne. At the end of this book, Jesus will be given all authority in heaven and on earth. (Mt. 28:18) He is King of kings and Lord of lords. (1 Ti. 6:15) I know that bad things happen on the earth and this is a result of the fall. Jesus came to save us from our sin. Jesus saved me from the penalty of sin by his death and resurrection. He is saving me from the power of sin by the Holy Spirit. He will save me from the presence of sin at the resurrection, when all is made new. Therefore, I shall trust God: Father and Son and Holy Spirit with my life. I shall not trust my human, sinful, reasoning. I shall trust that though this world is an evil place, all things are working together for good. (Rom. 8:28)