2013-12-25 - In the Darkest Night
Originally Published 2011-12-01
Gen 39:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the rulers staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Pilate became the governor of Judea in 6AD and removed the right of capital punishment from the Jewish leadership. This was seen by many as the removal of the scepter, self-rule, from Israel. The problem was that Shiloh, the Messiah, had not yet come, or so they thought. The conclusion was made that since the Messiah had not yet come that the scriptures had been broken. It was indeed a very dark night for the many who looked forward to the salvation of Israel.
What could have gone wrong? We, of course, know that nothing had gone wrong. The blessing of 20/20 hindsight is that we know Messiah had been born in Bethlehem and the leaders had missed it entirely. He had been presented to Priests on the eight day and been prophesied over. The angels came to shepherds. The kings that came were from central Asia. They had read the scriptures left by Daniel and knew the sign of the coming of the newborn King. When they told Herod, he reacted in fear for his throne.
There were two possible answers. The first, that God was wrong. He Who brought everything into existence by command doesn't seem likely to have missed the sending of the Savior of His people. The second, that Messiah had indeed come, but not in the way that everyone expected. There's an old Christmas song called, "How Should a King Come?" (music and lyrics by Carol and Jim Owens, © 1980, EMI Christian Music Publishing). The first verse starts out, "Even a child knows the answer to this, In a coach of gold and a pure white horse." In the minds of most people even today, that's the mental image that the title brings to our minds. The key word is "should".
Jesus the Messiah will return one day on a white horse with His army behind him.(Rev 19:11-16)
How many times do we miss the light of hope in what appears to be a dark night? Instead of believing the impossible (that God had failed) it should have been clear that Messiah had indeed come. What if a search had been organized to find the new King? It was. Soldiers were sent into the village of Bethlehem (Matt 2:16). God clearly new better. Still we have this tendency to drift toward what makes sense to us using our understanding of how things should be (Prov 3:5). Should the Creator of the Universe hang on a cross with nails in His hands and feet and thorns driven into His scalp? Our quick answer might be no. But it had to be so for the shed blood of Christ to pay for our willful mistakes. God knew better. Some of us have lived through some very dark nights. Sometimes the reasons are not clear for years or decades. Some of us may not know the why until we sit at the Lord's feet and ask. But at no point does He not love us, even when we have walked away from Him. Just like the prodigal son, He will take us back if our hearts are sincere.
Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.