There is Still Weeping In Ramah

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I’ve been “missing in action” this week, down with bronchitis. This morning, brain fuzz cleared (though the weakness in the body is still evident) I sit down to continue my exploration of the book of Matthew.

When I read through chapter 2 earlier this week, I took note of two items that I intended to look at separately, but here I am at the end of the week with both of them still in my head. So let me share them both briefly.

The first comes from Matthew 2:13-15. After the wise men left the house where Jesus was, an angel appeared to Joseph to warn him that Herod would soon be coming to destroy the baby that posed such a political threat to him—or so he thought. Joseph was instructed to take the child to Egypt. Why Egypt? There would have been safe havens closer. Of course, this move was in fulfillment of a prophecy: “And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son’” (2:15 as quoted from Hosea 11:1).

The child Jesus retraced the historic journey of the Israelites into Egypt. After the death of Herod, He would, as they once had, be released to return once more to the land that belonged by covenant to Israel. It was a symbolic journey—the redemption, restoration, and new beginnings of a people captured in His own personal history, and a symbol of what He had come to do permanently for mankind.

Then comes the second part of the story. Herod’s soldiers were close on Joseph’s heels when he took his family on that journey to Egypt. They arrived too late to capture the Christ. But because they did not know which child might be the Messiah, they killed all the boys two years old and under in Bethlehem (2:16-18). Once again a prophecy 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” (2:18 as quoted from Jeremiah 31:15).

Just before Christmas 2012, twenty children plus several teachers were gunned down in a school in the US. The world watched in horror. Just weeks later, few, aside from those directly connected with the massacre, remember.

"Rebelle," dubbed “War Witch” by someone out there, a movie following the life of a child soldier in the Congo, has garnered 11 Oscar nominations. That’s good—but will anyone remember the story after the Oscars are over and other movies have captured the media’s attention?

Yesterday, it was reported on the news that up to 50% of the food produced in the world is wasted—some never even being harvested. We want pretty apples not bruised ones. We eat more than we need, buy more than we need and throw away what spoils because we can’t, or won’t, eat it. What we throw away is enough to feed the starving children in other parts of the world. It's true what our mothers used to tell us: "Eat it—some starving child in Africa would be grateful for it!"

We aren’t told if anyone did anything about the death of those children in Bethlehem. Some blame God, insisting that He should have stopped such injustice. But then we remember that since the time of Adam it has been man’s responsibility to “rule” over the earth (Genesis 1:28:30). God gave us the job—one we have continually botched since the beginning of time. Just what have you and I done to stop madmen from killing children in their classrooms, governments from turning children into killing machines, societies from wasting food while others starve to death?

No time. Too busy. Not my concern. My little contribution won't make a difference.

Until it’s one of our own. Does God really have to remind us of our responsibility by sending a policeman to our own door, by removing His blessing from our nation and allowing us to sink into civil war and economic ruin? Will it take those extreme measures before we understand that the horror that others have lived and are living is only a breath away from any one of us? Unless we step up and speak up history has already proven what will be the inevitable result of our negligence.

And the weeping in “Ramah” will continue.


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