Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
They have said that history repeats itself. But then, they’ve said that before. It’s an old joke, but a very true statement. And I see it this morning as I look at Matthew’s telling of the gospel.
After Jesus was born and had been worshipped by the wise men, Joseph fled with him and their small family to Egypt. They remained there for a time in order to be safe from the murderous intentions of King Herod. Herod, for his part, took out his wrath on the children of Bethlehem, ordering the deaths of children who fit the age profile of the king the wise men had sought.
What hit me this morning is that this is a repetition of God’s story of his people all through the Scriptures. Time and time and time again, we read stories of an attack being made on the people of God. Time and time and time again, we see that the attack fails. Sometimes, we even see that the failure of the attack results in the attacker raging against others because he cannot destroy God’s plan.
From the beginning, Satan has wanted to interrupt and derail God’s plan. He entered the garden, deceived Eve, and tried to put an end to God’s plan before Adam and Eve had ever had children. But he failed. God had a plan to show mercy and to judge sin that Satan could not have imagined.
During the time of Esther, Satan used Haman to attempt to destroy the people of God. But God used Esther and her uncle to thwart Haman’s plan of genocide.
How about one more? If we look to the book of Revelation, chapter 12, we see the curtain pulled back on the drama of the ages. Satan, depicted as a dragon, prepares himself to devour the child to be born, the child who would rule, the Christ. But Satan cannot devour the child. Instead, the child is snatched up, and the dragon can only turn his rage against the people of God.
If we looked through history, we could see this story replayed over and over again on a grand scale as well as in minor confrontations that never made the history books. But the outcome will always be the same. Satan will fight against the people of God so long as he is around. But God will provide for his people, preserve his church, and ultimately be victorious. Satan cannot win. He is a defeated foe. Yes, he makes our lives miserable from time to time, but he will not win. God’s kingdom will come. God’s will is to be done. Nothing can stop it. Our god is sovereign and supreme.
What do I do with all this? I remember two keys. Life will not be easy. There is a real enemy of my soul who would love to destroy me and to who would love to destroy the church of God. I should not be surprised about this fact.
However, I also have great cause for hope and joy. Satan could not defeat Christ. Jesus accomplished the will of his Father through is death and resurrection. Jesus also will return and finally bring the Kingdom of God to this earth. Satan cannot win. God will win. This gives me the hope I need to press on, to trust God, and to live for his glory.