Know not only what you are talking about but who you are talking to.

It is not what we believe that is of the greatest concern. You can attend all the courses in the world to become proficient at what you believe but if you cannot use the Koran to reach a Muslim or if you do not know that the Buddhist holds to values such as purity of heart, compassion, charity and humility very similar to Christianity then we are going to struggle to reach them. It is not what you know that is everything it is also what ‘they’ know. You need to build a bridge for them to walk towards you.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ (Matthew 3 v 1-2)

John the Baptist began to preach at a time when the Roman kingdom was all over them. The thought that the prophesied kingdom of David would come again was fading. ‘Will we ever see the kingdom?’ John the Baptist comes and says ‘Yes, it is near.’

But what kind of kingdom is coming?

More to the point will they receive it?

Matthew’s gospel will tell us that the generation of Jesus missed it.

So a similar but hidden question is now posed throughout his gospel, will the readers of this gospel miss the kingdom again?

Matthew will use the phrase 33 times. He prefers to use it rather than the other gospels use of ‘Kingdom of God’.

If he had not used ‘Kingdom of heaven’ his Jewish audience would have turned away instantly for they would not even write the name for God such was their honour of His name.

Matthew knew his audience.

We must know not only what we are talking about but who we are talking to.

Know the context of people’s lives.

Today when you are with people who do not know Christ, try and find out what they do believe. What values do they hold dear? What inspires them? What is the foundation of their life?

Maybe knowing them will mean you use different vocabulary which may give them a better chance to hear what you have to say.

The identity and the context of your life

The enemy of your soul will do all he can to say you haven’t done anything with your life and it simply isn’t true. God has done amazing things through you the great and the small and you should be thankful. And the good news is there is more to come. Most probably the highlights of your life have been the moments when you remained focused on the person God created you to be and you positioned yourself or created the context so that you could give of your best.

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” (Matthew 3 v 1)

Your identity

John, son of Zechariah, yes that’s true. But he was known as John the Baptist because that is what he did. Of course he never called himself that. Nor did he call himself John the Christ or John the Prophet as we discover in John’s gospel. He described himself as a voice calling in the wilderness. Matthew will tell us this soon. The whole world knew him as the Baptist but he thought of himself as a voice. The world wasn’t wrong but what he thought of himself would be what sustained him. If he had truly believed he was the Baptist then when the crowds stopped following him and started following Jesus and the baptisms decreased (see John 3:26) John could have been jealous. But he tells us that we must decrease and Jesus increase. What you think of yourself can block your way. His identity was a voice. We will eventually get to Matthew 14 where on being arrested his baptism ministry had certainly dwindled in size and what was left was his voice. He certainly wasn’t baptising in prison, put there because he spoke up against Herod Antipas divorcing his wife and had taken his brother, Philip’s wife. His voice, his identity, stayed with him to the end. It is important to know who you are and not let your world move you away from what is your true identity.

Your context

Where are you positioned? I have started to play chess recently after many years. The aim is to corner the King so that he cannot move without being destroyed. You do that by getting your pieces into position.

John had positioned himself in the wilderness ready for God. There is no better place than the wilderness. The wilderness is a special place for us in the Bible because it teaches us many lessons from the story of the Israelites. For years we have been preached at to get out of the wilderness but for the Jew they long to be there for it is where God met them the most.

The wilderness years were not wandering years. Nearly 1 year was spent at Mount Sinai where Moses was up and down the mountain getting revelation and instruction for the building of the tabernacle. They then at the foot of Sinai built the tabernacle and then moved on. But for 38 years they were in Kadesh Barnea because spies had brought a bad report, they never moved on and a generation died. Their total travelling time took less than 2 years arriving at the Promised Land with a fresh generation of leaders. It was the wilderness where they died except for 2 men, Joshua and Caleb.

The goal of the Exodus was to take Egypt out of the Israelites. The people at the Exodus are a fearful and frightened people. By the time they get to the Jordan they are ready to fight as an army. It was the wilderness that changed them.

‘Wilderness’ in Hebrew is ‘Midbar’ and it means ‘word’. Where did the Torah (first 5 OT books) come from? It wasn’t from Egypt nor the Promised Land. Where did they encounter God? It was the wilderness where revelation was given and they experienced God.

Further to this we know from Jewish history that the Maccabean armies launched their attacks from the wilderness and that other groups of orders such as the Qumran lived in the desert.

John had purposely left his parents and gone into the desert of Judea to live. This was the context for where he would develop his identity, his voice, in order to fulfil the reason for his life.

Maybe today you will need to make positional decisions to create the context for the next chapter of your life. Maybe you already have and you can describe it as a wilderness. It is probably the best place for you right now.

Your identity and your context are crucial so that the reason for you being here can be fulfilled.

The reason for your life

‘It’s a wonderful life’ made in 1946; ‘Dad’s Army’ made in 1971; ‘Erin Brockovich’ made in the year 2000. Just a few of the films I watched over Christmas that were made 74 years, 49 years and 20 years ago. Each time I watched the film I was caught up in one thought, ‘where has the time gone?’ Life has flown by. Do you ever ask yourself how you got to the age you are today so quickly?

We move to a new chapter. Approximately 25 years have gone by in the turn of a page. The CEV says ‘Years later …’ The NIV says, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” (Matthew 3 v 1) Luke has the gap shorter because we have the story of Jesus as a 12 year old boy in the Temple.

“In those days …” What has happened in those silent years?

Mary and Joseph have had more children. Jesus grew within a family. You also know the security of a family but also perhaps the turmoil that families go through.

Joseph has most probably died. Jesus has known grief. Your loved ones have died also and you have had to contend with all the emotion of that.

Jesus became a carpenter/builder. Jesus has known tiredness and joys of work. You have known the successes but also perhaps the instability of work.

The reason

After a period of time, two men would emerge from different places, one from the Judean desert and the other from Nazareth to fulfil the reason for their life. Yesterday I caught the end of a news report about Marie McCourt who has campaigned for what is called ‘Helen’s Law’ after her daughter who was murdered in 1988 and whose killer has not revealed where her body is. The law will go a long way to make sure that a murderer is not paroled without confessing those important details. Marie McCourt said this, “As a person of faith I believe I have been put here on this earth for this reason, Helen’s law.” Today I will write a eulogy for a funeral I am conducting this week. As in all funerals details will be given of the person’s life. I will speak of perhaps his reason for life was when he and his wife rescued a girl from a difficult life and adopted her. That decision was a turning point for that girl’s life and it could be said the reason for his.

There are high points in our lives that are behind us and in front of us still and we need to highlight them even whilst we are alive and draw encouragement from them. The enemy of your soul will do all he can to say you haven’t done anything with your life and it simply isn’t true. God has done amazing things through you the great and the small and you should be thankful.

I was moved the other day reading an old man’s Facebook status. He had been a minister all his working life. His wife has died and he is struggling with grief. He took some pictures of his new apartment he has moved into and though it could rightfully be said that the most active part of his life is behind him, he wrote how he still has a reason to live, he writes to people to encourage them and he studies the Bible.

We are going to need to adjust throughout this life. Today, the UK has entered into another national lockdown, more adjustments are needed, but the reason for our life continues.

Life passes by very quickly, live in the moment, take your opportunities, adjust and be who you are called to be. Be ready for a new chapter even after many silent years.

God will make a way

Can God trust you? Can you be trusted to follow Him into a situation of uncertainty and to find that He is your peace?

“Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2 v 23)

There is a sense of relief in this verse. He made it. Jesus was born and now was safe growing to become a man. But let us remind ourselves of some of the problems (with a little help from Luke):

Mary had to say yes.

Mary spends 3 months away from Joseph and comes back obviously pregnant.

Joseph was going to divorce her.

There was no room anywhere for them to have the baby.

Threats from Herod.

The mass slaughter of the innocents.

Fleeing to Egypt as refugees.

Threats from Archelaus and the disturbance brought about by his reign.

It is an incredible story.

God restricted His power on earth and chose to use people like you and me to create the miraculous to happen.

When it looks impossible, God can make a way. He can manoeuvre and change circumstances so that His will, will be done.

At any time God could have sent the army of angels not with a message but with the instruction to supernaturally open the way for Jesus to be born in peace and safety. He is still the God of the Exodus and the God of the parting of the Red Sea.

One thing is clear – we are called to walk by faith.

To walk through the Christmas story, from one place to the next and waiting for further instructions, it calls for faith.

The birth of Jesus shows us that God will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Can God trust you to walk with Him? Just hold on to Him and wait to see what He does next.

The ways of God are sometimes the long way

Can God trust you?

Can you be trusted to go into a situation of real need and to rely on His provision? Can you be trusted to be taken into a situation of pain and to rely on His presence to comfort you?

“But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2 v 22-23)

They have stopped on the way. It was all going so well. They had left Egypt on the exciting news that Herod was dead. They began dreaming again. But then they hear the bad news.

God sees things that we do not see. He not only sees the things that happen to us but also the things that could have happened to us. Egypt to Bethlehem was a lot shorter route than Egypt to Nazareth. The long way round is often the hardest way. But I am not thinking in terms of miles and distance but with the circumstances of those moments of the journey.

“Having been warned in a dream …” What was that warning? Was it a warning not to go to Jerusalem or Bethlehem? No. Joseph had already paused the journey afraid to go there. He would not need any warning not to go there. Perhaps it was a warning not to go back to Egypt. There are times when the return looks like a place of comfort, safety and an easier life then continuing forward. Perhaps it was a warning to overcome their fears of Nazareth. Mary’s hometown, the place of conception and the place of stigma. The long way round is often the hardest way.

Let’s remind ourselves that the ultimate reason why Jesus came was His death and resurrection.

But how did Jesus get there? Born in a humble village of Bethlehem, becoming an asylum seeker in Egypt and then raised in a town of Nazareth. Nazarenes were despised people and he would be called one of them.

From infancy to childhood, childhood to boyhood, boyhood to teens, teens to manhood, thirty years of living in Nazareth. What went on in that time, we do not know.

For thirty years, the vast majority of his life on earth, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, under the direct guidance of God the Father, lived amongst the poorest people and in total obscurity.

That is the long way round.

Your name may not be known. You may not have a place, title or position. You may struggle to make ends meet. You may not have what others want you to have. You may not have that perfect job, that perfect spouse, perfect children, you may feel alone, unwanted and unknown.

You may describe your life as being lived the long and hard way.

But can God trust you to remain in relationship with Him in Nazareth?

The ways of God are sometimes puzzling.

Can God trust you? Can God trust you to keep hold of faith even when you don’t know what is going on?

Our lives are not simple. They are not run like a GPS in the car telling us the quickest and easiest route to take. There seems to be many routes and sometimes the way God leads us down can be puzzling.

“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.” (Matthew 2 v 19-22)

It doesn’t matter where you are, God can speak to you – even in Egypt.

Herod is dead. It feels like the whole world is relieved. In his 36 year reign there was hardly a day went by that someone wasn’t sentenced to death. The Roman-Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote of what happened at the time and you can easily access this. When Herod died, there was a fight between his sons on who would be king. In an earlier will, Herod had given the title to Antipas, but then changed the will to Archelaus. It was to be settled in Rome before Caesar who in the end compromised by making Antipas Herod over Galilee and answerable only to Rome, whereas Archelaus was not given the title Herod but ‘Ethnarch’ meaning ‘National leader’ over Samaria and Judea. But whilst all that shenanigans was taking place in Rome, there was uprisings in Jerusalem. Three would-be heroes who all claimed the title ‘king of the jews’ formed guerrilla armies and ransacked towns that were pro-Roman. Though they looked for divine intervention none came and they were all killed. Archelaus made his mark by appointing his own High Priest, Joezer, for the Temple. Jerusalem pilgrims from across the world became involved and protested against this decision and 3,000 were killed on one day.

Why is that all important? It is because of the verses we read.

They are returning home. They were both delighted. This is a breakthrough that God has given them. A window of opportunity to go back and start a life there. Can you imagine the conversation they had on the way back? Where shall we live? ‘Let’s live near Jerusalem where the Temple is’, ‘what about Bethlehem?’ ‘I wonder who will replace Herod? Thank God that He got rid of that evil wicked king!’ It was always going to be Judea, they had spent 2-3 years there already and they knew it well. One place they were not prepared to go was their hometown Nazareth. Facing the stigma of their story was not where they believed they should start their lives out of exile.

But as they near Israel they begin to hear of what has been happening. They hear of what we read from Josephus and more. Joseph is told about this new leader called Archelaus who sounded worse than his father.

Do you understand what it is to walk into a puzzle? You see God move and then it looks like He didn’t or it just gets worse? You get healed and then it looks like the healing is lost? You get provision and then it looks like it wasn’t God who provided?

Why didn’t God reveal the whole situation back in Egypt? In exile he holds back the successor to Herod and the stories of what was taking place. Sometimes it appears that we are not ready to receive all the information.

Do you know what that is like?

But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod he was afraid to go there”

It is a situation of being tempted to believe that God hasn’t done anything in the first place, it was just your mind in overdrive, you read into what wasn’t there.

BUT is the greatest enemy to your obedience. It is usually followed by FEAR. That pincer moment usually causes us to go nowhere. We have stopped moving forward and we don’t know what to do.

We know these verses really well, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

If this story is describing you then it would seem that the best thing you can do is to wait. The next move is God’s. Wait for Him. Keep trustworthy. God will move again.

A Hope full New Year!

Herod, outwitted, now furious, orders something to be carried out that is evil to the core. Bethlehem did not have a large population, some think the number was around twenty but it surely impacted the whole town.

“When Herod realized 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. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matthew 2: 16-18)

The Jews knew the prophecy, but we need reminding.

(Jeremiah 31: 15-17) “This is what the Lord says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” This is what the Lord says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord. “They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the Lord. Your children will return to their own land.”

Six hundred years before Christ was born in the context of the captivity of Jerusalem. It must have seemed like God had deserted his people when they were deported by the Babylonians. Jeremiah pictures Rachel weeping as the exiles pass her tomb in Ramah on the way to a strange land.

Matthew only records part of the prophecy but his readers knew the whole of it. Through Jeremiah, God was saying there is hope.

The mothers of Bethlehem were crying out. They were victims of evil. Why?! Is their cry.

The slaughter of the innocents happened, Jesus had been born.

The King of Egypt ordered the new born males to be killed and Moses had been born.

Identical beginnings and it reveals Jesus is greater than Moses.

From the beginning of his life and at the end of his life on the cross we see a violent and terrible world. A world that He came to redeem.

For Jesus, the greater Moses, living between the atrocities of Christmas and the cross came to redeem our lives but also to show us that that gospel message can survive the most dire of circumstances.

If the gospel can survive the violence of Christmas and the vulgarity of the cross it can survive anywhere in the world and in any circumstance.

So no longer do we need to say, ‘Where are you in this?’

For as we see the total vulnerability of God to expose Himself to the atrocities surrounding His incarnation, we see He exists in pain and suffering.

What is He doing there?

He is delivering us. He is bringing us out of the hell of the pain.

He is doing it not through a law but grace. Grace upon grace. Continual grace.

He is here. And where He is there is hope.

I know something of the tears, pain, bitterness and the questions – why? Why did that happen?

As we start out this year we don’t know what will come our way exactly. But there will be death. It was all around us in 2020. Death of relationships. Death of dreams and death of loved ones. Am I a pessimist? No, the opposite, but we know it is true. At those times we also know that we can feel hopeless. The meaninglessness can overwhelm us if we don’t let hope rise within us. May this year be a hope filled one! In the midst of your pain you will find Him, HOPE will be there, He always is.

When it feels like not even God can intervene, He can and He probably has.

Know this. God is found in the unsafe, insecure and dangerous places of our lives.

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2 v 13-15)

They went to bed that night blessed. The magi had gone but had left behind expensive and substantial gifts. This was a high time for Joseph and Mary. They were overcome with such provision – what are we going to do with all this, this is too much? Within hours they would realise that God had provided at just the right time for them. They would need the gifts from the Magi to get them through the next period of time, on the journey and staying in a foreign country, Egypt.
When it feels like God cannot change the events of your life, take a step back, turn back the clock, it may only be for a few hours, but turn it back and you will find that He has been preparing you and providing for you in all that you will need for this period of time.

Nothing about this story is safe.
Mary’s conception could have split the relationship for good.
Caesars census and journey to Bethlehem could have injured the heavily-pregnant Mary.
Herod is searching to kill their child.
If we were God we would have written a different story.
God is saying ‘I am fully in control in such circumstances. I can be trusted.’

Matthew writes how this section of the story fulfilled what the prophet (Hosea 11:1) had said, “When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son.”

As Moses was called to go to Egypt and rescue Israel from slavery so Jesus was called out of Egypt in His infancy through this divine message to Joseph, to save mankind from the slavery of sin. God is in control of your life, He has you and He will not let go of you. But don’t imagine Joseph telling Mary, ‘Don’t worry Mary, this is all in Hosea’s prophecy’. When you are going through the trial, Bible verses don’t always come to your mind, no matter what the experts tell us. It is often looking back, as Matthew does, after the event, 50 years later, he sees the hand of God, the prophetic plan being fulfilled.

We walk by faith and when it feels like not even God can intervene He can and He probably already has.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

The Magi believed in Christ when they had never seen him and probably not read of any of his prophecies. They believed in him when Herod was opposing and deceiving them. They believed in him when the religious leaders were unbelieving. They believed in him when they saw him as a little child and worshipped him as a king. This was the crowning point in their simple faith. No miracles. No healings to convince them. No teaching to persuade them. They didn’t need any of that.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2 v 11-12)

They knew what they had to do. They had brought gifts. They had brought gold for a king. This king would not come by force but with love. He would rule over men’s hearts not from a throne but a cross of wood. They had brought frankincense for a priest. This priest would not use the incense in the Temple to connect man with God. He would open the way to the presence of God not by works or any sacrificial Temple offering of man but by His own sacrifice and Him alone. They had brought myrrh for the Saviour, the one who would die for His people. This Saviour became the perfect sacrifice so that we could at last know forgiveness and be at peace with God. They brought these gifts and most probably they didn’t know the meaning that we over the centuries have given these gifts. They just brought gifts. Expensive ones. For them it seemed the right thing to do. Little did they realise that both Joseph and Mary would need these gifts to sustain them when they became refugees.

They came to the house. Mary and Joseph had moved from the manger scene. Their baby was now a child. This was 1-2 years after the birth. But nativities would last a very long time if the period of time was considered!

They entered in and saw the child. That’s the focal point. For months God had been using a ‘star’ to pull them from their homeland to the feet of Jesus so they could see a miracle.

Their eyes met the eyes of Jesus. The gifts took second place. There was only one thing that they could do and that was to fall down and worship. What we can bring to Jesus is not as important as our hearts of worship.

In 1872, Christina Rosetti, the sister of the artist Dante (and who she posed for in many of his paintings) wrote a poem that has global fame. She had herself a difficult life. A broken engagement and further turning down two offers of marriage around the time of this poem she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. Today an overactive thyroid is treatable but in the 19th century it was even more debilitating. Her poem has these words:

What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

It wouldn’t be long after this poem was written that she would develop cancer and die in London in 1894. Her life ended with nothing much that she could give. But He had her heart and that was the most precious gift she could give. It still is.

God can move in your insignificance in the least expected way

King Herod has heard the news from the streets of his city that a king of the Jews has been born and that it was first announced in the sky by a new star that had guided the Magi. The city was full of the news but the people were also disturbed by it because they knew how unpredictable Herod was. What would he do faced with a threat of a new king? Is this announcement the start of an uprising? The first thing he does is to call the true leaders of the Jewish people, the chief priests and teachers of the law. These were the leaders who interpreted the Old Testament law for the people to be able to live their lives religiously. They were ready for the question.

They knew a Messiah was to come. They knew where he would be born. They knew that God had given these details through their prophet Micah approximately 700 years previously. They knew the prophecy was given at a time of an invasion similar to that of the Roman oppression they were experiencing under King Herod but for Micah it was witnessing the invasion into Judah by the King of Assyria.

“When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel” (Matthew 2 v 4-6)

Even though they knew all these things, Matthew’s gospel will reveal that from the outset of the birth of Jesus they would not be moved towards him. Gentile, Arabian astronomers were more devout than they were. Their alignment with Herod was more important to them than alignment with the Scriptures which they could recite word for word. We need to watch our alignments as they can pull us away from what we hold as important.

The prophecy has been recited in every nativity across the globe. The beauty of the words are important today for those whose circumstances may be difficult and perhaps your abilities seem inadequate. It is always who is inside you that is of importance (… out of you will come …) for greater is He that is in you than is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Micah’s prophecy is this: ““But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”(Micah 5:2)

Bethlehem whose name we have to use the region of Ephrathah for because there are other Bethlehem’s, in order to determine which one we mean. You are not unique. There are others like you. Well, not exactly like you, because you are small, weaker and insignificant actually. At the time of the birth of Jesus there was a Bethlehem in the north as well as this one in the south, in the land of Judah. The priests make sure they are referring to the right one. Micah prophecies future but it is a reminder that only 300 years previously King David was born in your small town and a new King in his line will come again.

I love this. Let me encourage you today. Especially to those who are struggling in some way.

Look back.

See what God has done in previous years through you. (Bethlehem, King David was born in your town! He was your ruler, strong, majestic, secure and great.)  You may need to go back to a previous generation or it may be within your own personal history, but God is there to be found.

Believe again.

It can happen again. God can come again. (Out of you will come for me one … And not just one but The One.  The One who is everlasting, who is from of old, from ancient times, the One who is peace.) God hasn’t finished with you yet.

Live in the light of that fact.

When the chief priests and teachers of the law quoted Micah they were answering a specific question by Herod of where the Messiah would be born. They lift the answer out of the whole prophecy which they perfectly knew. “… And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land … He will deliver us from …” (v5-6) If only they had seen the connection with their present generation, but they blind.

For those struggling with whatever situation:

You can do life in difficult circumstances “The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or depend on man.” (v7)

You will get through this “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed” v9.

God will do what you cannot do yourself “In that day … I will destroy and demolish and tear down all your strongholds …I will destroy … I will uproot …I will take vengeance” (v10-15)

So watch who or what you are aligned to and get ready for God can move in your insignificance in the least expected way.