When Jesus was born, Herod the king subtly sought to kill the baby, as old thrones are inclined to oppose emerging feared dominions.
Then an angel was dispatched with a warning to Joseph the husband of Mary, “take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13). Not long after that, Herod it was that got unfortunately deleted by the death he had meant to bring upon a righteous Other, and actually brought upon innocent many. Boomerang, you might say, about the end of Herod’s frustrated bid to ‘swap’ his bloody hoary scalp with that holy infant head. May Satanic ‘exchanges’ be frustrated in your land and your life, no matter how eminent might be the Herods behind the covert ritual of a holocaustic political scheme. Amen (2 kings 3:26-27).
At Herod’s death, the angel returned to Joseph as promised, with the obituary announcement and an instruction to return to the same place from where the old threat had forced him to flee. Something in that obituary announcement, however, strikes me; something at odds with the ‘facts’ on the ground.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life (Matthew 2:19-20).
According to verse 19, who died was one man, Herod: “when Herod was dead….” In verse 20, however, the angel says, “for THEY are dead which sought the young child’s life.” What had happened, as far as Earthly news was concerned and as far as mortal eyes could see, was a singular death; but according to the Voice from Heaven, according to the heavenly news reporter of the obituary, it was actually many deaths; it was plural deaths in that singular death. In other words, the death of one Herod was actually the strategic death of all who in the recent past had meant to use the cover of his office to “destroy” the Child; it was the death of the many other faceless murderers whom the press had never known, who had guised their private biases behind a mass infanticidal political ‘decree.’ Herod had only been the arrowhead of a death-plot larger than himself. His death reduced that lethal arrow into a mere slender wooden stem. In other words, sometimes, it is tactical gain when one man goes, than for an entire population to be destroyed. That was, in fact, the high priestly wisdom of Caiaphas of old.
“Don't you realize that it is better for you to have one man die for the people, instead of having the whole nation destroyed?” (John 11:50, Good News Translation).
Does our good God think the same way as this high priest? Does He consider it sometimes a strategic again to take out one, or some others, for another? Maybe the prophet Isaiah can help us here:
4 I will give up whole nations to save your life,
because you are precious to me
and because I love you and give you honor.
5 Do not be afraid — I am with you! (Isaiah 43:4-5, Good News Translation).
To God and to the devil, some lives mean much more than the individuals, and some deaths also. You mean much more than you may ever know, and ‘they’ also. Only after death, sometimes, does this hidden fact become an open secret which, even then, only the few who are tuned into Radio Heaven ever get to hear. When the devil comes after you sometimes, it is not merely for your sake but especially for the sake of the many unknown others whose lives depend on your one life, no matter how battered and ‘insignificant’ that life might now seem to you. Similarly, sometimes, God also goes after a Herod not merely for his bloody and expiring stool but also for those many faceless and evil “they” that his office personates.
When King Saul and his crack force died in battle, that one loss became the easy sack of entire communities that, even though far from the battlefront, were no less involved in the outcome of that battle. The one ‘sword’ that cut Saul down was the same that wiped those cities out. The enemy never needed to fire an extra shot in those places. He simply moved in to occupy the vacated cities, Saul’s distant personal defeat being also those city-zens’ private and residential disaster.
6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
7 And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them (1 Samuel 31:6-7).
There are lives we need to protect not simply for their sake but actually for ours. Safely far away as we might seem from them, we stand the risk of losing even our peaceful ‘cities’ if they should lose their battle, or their life. Also, there are battles that God makes easy for His people simply by taking out one Herod or one Goliath. Sad as it might be, may the God who knows every evil Herod’s true capacity send an angel to announce their obituary; that they have been first ‘partaker’ of the vile cup they had wanted to serve the Innocent. Amen.
From: The Preacher