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Matthew 2:7-8 – Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." (NIV)
Matthew 2:16 – 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. (NIV)
Ruby came to me when she was seven. The SPCA had rescued her from a puppy mill. She had been seriously wounded by other dogs and needed immediate medical attention. I agreed to foster her until she was healed. As the months rolled by, however, and she settled well into my home, she simply stayed.
Ruby is now over 16, but she still maintains a nasty habit that I have had no luck in breaking. I expect it was formed as a way of survival in the puppy mill. It is not a healthy habit, and it also causes me frustration and extra work. Ruby knows that it isn't something I want her doing, for when she sees me watching, the behaviour immediately desists. She remains, however, to this day, unwilling to give it up.
King Herod was a person who was also not willing to give something up. He was on the throne, and he intended to stay put. There was no room in his life for this new king the Magi sought. Though he outwardly led them to believe that he desired to worship the baby, inwardly he had no such intention. Murder — the slaying of the Babe — was first and foremost in his thoughts.
Advent is a time to worship the birth of the King — the same King whom Herod sought to kill. It is also a time to reflect upon the place that King Jesus has in our hearts. Is He on the throne of our lives totally? Or might we still have areas, habits which we are not willing to give over to His kingdom, will, and healing. Perhaps, due to our background and experiences, we are afraid to trust Him as Lord. Maybe it's just a matter of disobedience. We actually enjoy a certain fantasy, action, behaviour, or dark thought that we know is against His will according to Scripture. We may even attend church weekly and read our Bibles faithfully, but when the Holy Spirit, who represents King Jesus here on earth, seeks to convict and convince our hearts of the need to allow Christ full reign, we slay His attempts with indifference and wilfulness.
Herod's unwillingness to make room for Christ brought shame upon his name and rule forever. It also brought misery, pain, and horror to those he persecuted.
What might we be doing to ourselves and others when we, too, refuse to make way for the King?
Now, isn't that something to think about!
Prayer: Father God, help us this day to be totally open to Your will and way in our lives. May our hearts be sensitive and obedient to Your Holy Spirit, that Christ might have complete reign in our lives this Christmas season and forevermore. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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