“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”
Amidst these first couple of chapters in Matthew, there’s obviously so much glorious truth that we are drawn to, the genealogy in chapter 1 that leads up to this recap of the Old Testament, that leads up to Jesus being from the line of Abraham, from the line of David. And then we hear the story about Mary and Joseph and how God miraculously provided a son for them through Mary in a way that Joseph was at first afraid but then comforted by God. We learn that his name will be Jesus Emmanuel, God with us. Chapter 2, Jesus is born, wise men come and worship him.
Father cause Your church to be a reflection of Your love for the fatherless and for the vulnerable. We pray for protection for the newlyborn, the unborn, and all those who are in harm’s way.
There’s so many great things we celebrate at Christmas. I think, if we’re not careful, we are tempted to miss the horror of verse 16. Herod sends for all the male children in Bethlehem who are under two years to be killed. What an evil picture. What an evil act. What a horrifying event. Can you imagine? Somebody coming through your neighborhood, your city, and all of the sudden, every precious child two years old or younger is taken and slaughtered, killed.
See the picture here from the very first moment Jesus came to the Earth, this world of evil has not been a safe place for children. And we see this today. We look around, when we see war, when we see poverty, when we see oppression, oftentimes it’s children that are the most victimized, and it’s into this world of evil that Jesus stepped to bring salvation. It’s into this world of evil that Jesus stepped to promise coming justice, mercy.
And so we’re compelled, even by this text, to pray for God’s mercy and justice and provision to be made known for children, for vulnerable children in all kinds of different circumstances. And, at the same time, we are provoked to pray, to plead for Jesus to come back so that sin and evil like this will be no more.
Oh, God, we do. We pray right now. We intercede for vulnerable children. We intercede for children right around us and all around the world who are suffering as a result of the sins of others. We know, we know every person is born with a sinful nature, so not one of them is ultimately innocent before you, but, when we think about the tragedy of abortion and children being killed before they even come out of the womb, God, when we think about war and poverty and oppression and how evil in the world has put all kinds of the littlest children in the most vulnerable of circumstances, when we think about children who don’t have a mom or dad and who are orphaned and in need in so many different ways. God, I think about children who don’t have somebody who’s looking after their care and their provision.
I think about children who are born into abusive situations. Oh, God, please have mercy, have mercy, we pray. We pray for an end to abortions. God, we pray, we pray that, even today, in a mom’s heart who is considering abortion, God, please, please change her mind, transform her heart to have this child, provide, provide loving parents for that child. We pray, we pray for the orphan crisis in different places around the world. I think about Ethiopia, the orphan crisis there. God, please show your mercy to these children in Ethiopia. Cause your church to be a reflection of the father’s love to the fatherless to them.
God, we pray for that and the foster care system around us and adoption possibilities around us. God, please use us to show your love for vulnerable children. God, we pray, use your church in this way. May we be an instrument in your hands, to be a reflection of your care for kids in need. God, please may it be so. We pray for your protection for the unborn and for the newly born, for kids who are in circumstances right now where they are suffering as a result of others’ sins, for parents who things are happening to their kids that are out of their control, like what was going on here in Matthew 2.
God, we pray, we pray show your mercy, show your justice. And we pray, we plead your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Lord Jesus, come back quickly, we pray. Until that day, use us as your people to be a reflection of your mercy and your love and your hope to children in the most dire circumstances. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Download the weekly Bible reading plan to follow along with each episode of Pray the Word.
Get Pray the Word daily by subscribing here.