Rejoice With Weeping
Sometimes we weep because we are so happy. Other times we weep because we are so sad. Sometimes we have joy and sadness at the same time. It is through joy in the Lord that we can find joy even in sadness.
Why was this message given to Jeremiah? - Jeremiah 31:16
In Israel’s darkest time a message of hope was given. This message was given just before the Jews were taken into captivity of Babylon.
Why is the cry in Ramah? – Jeremiah 31:15
Ramah was the point at which Nebuchadnezzar assembled the people of Judah for their long trek into the captivity of Babylon (Jeremiah 40:1).
Who is Rachel?
The voice is that of a woman who is weeping bitterly. She is Rachel, the wife of Jacob. Figuratively speaking, Rachel, who had died a millennium earlier, is lamenting her lost “children,” i.e., her distant offspring. Who are these children? Rachel was the mother of both Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, both of whom were of Israel, while Benjamin was of Judah. Hence to weep for her children signified a bitter lamentation over the entire nation. [Christian Courier, Rachel’s Tears]
Why would Rachel be crying? - Jeremiah 31:15
In verses 12 and 13 you have God’s people singing. In verse 15 God’s people are crying. As the Babylonians came and took many captives to Babylon they killed many children along the way. The bad news is, God’s people will suffer and be in captivity. The good news is, it will not always be like that.
How does this apply to the birth of Christ? - Matthew 2:16-18
Just as God’s people suffered under Babylon but had hope of salvation so they did in the time of Jesus’ birth also. Herod, a Jewish king ordered the execution of all male children 2years old and under.
Why would a Jewish king order this decree? - Matthew 2:1-3
Herod the Great was a Jewish convert who desperately would defend his throne and show allegiance to Rome. This new King baby was a threat to Herod’s throne.
Was Herod expecting a new king? - Matthew 2:4, 5
It appears as though he wasn’t expecting the baby king for he called for and demanded answers from the chief priests and scribes.
Are Godly people the only ones interested in prophecy? – Matthew 2:7, 8
The Bible is accurate and you don’t even need a relationship with God to see that. Herod was using Bible prophecy for his own purposes and to see how he could benefit from it. He wants to know everything about the Messiah now.
Is it possible for man to thwart God’s plan? - Matthew 2:9, 10
Even though Jesus life was on the line God still went forward with His plan. It is through the trails of our lives that we see His power and protection.
How did God intervene with the wise men? - Matthew 2:12
God not only protected Jesus but He also protected the wise men. Because of their devotion to God, He kept them from being responsible for the death of baby Jesus. They would have reported what they saw which would have led Herod directly to Jesus.
What was Herod’s reaction to the wise men’s strategy? - Matthew 2:16-18
Herod unleashed his wrath on Bethlehem. This was but a small town that suffered immense loss.
What hope do the mothers of these children have? - Jeremiah 17:7, 1 Peter 1:3
We have this blessed hope that those parents will one day be reunited with their children. This is a blessed hope (Titus 2:13) because this is what the life and death of Christ was all about.
Have you experienced the pain of losing someone? Have you faced hardships in life that may not even end until Jesus comes back? The good news is that because Jesus was born to die we may have eternal life. Will you make this Christmas season more than gifts and parties? Will you help another person see exactly what it is that Jesus has done for you?
The word of God came to the Israelites in bondage to gather their children into their houses and to mark the doorposts of their houses with blood from a lamb, slain. This prefigured the slaying of the Son of God and the efficacy of His blood, which was shed for the salvation of the sinner. It was a sign that the household accepted Christ as the promised Redeemer. It was shielded from the destroyer's power. The parents evidenced their faith in implicitly obeying the directions given them, and the faith of the parents covered themselves and their children. They showed their faith in Jesus, the great Sacrifice, whose blood was prefigured in the slain lamb. The destroying angel passed over every house that had this mark upon it. This is a symbol to show that the faith of the parents extends to their children and covers them from the destroying angel.
God sent a word of comfort to the bereaved mothers of Bethlehem that the weeping Rachels should see their children coming from the land of the enemy. Christ took little children in His arms and blessed them and rebuked the disciples who would send away the mothers, saying, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).
Christ blessed the children brought to Him by the faithful mothers. He will do this now if mothers will do their duty to their children and teach their children and educate them in obedience and submission. Then they will bear the test and will be obedient to the will of God, for parents stand in the place of God to their children.
[Selected Messages Vol. 3 p. 314 E.G.W.]