Devotional: ‘Rachel Weeping for Her Children’ pt 5 of 5

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Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

If you have been studying with us this week, you know that Matthew is quoting from the book of Jeremiah.

“Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

Like many prophetic passages, the prophecy of Jeremiah can have more than one application.

Originally it referred to a time when the mothers of Jerusalem wept over their children who were being carried away into Babylonian captivity. Scripture teaches us that it was a dark day in Israel and it seem as though there was no hope. Yet the God of hope (Rom 15:13) always gives His people hope whenever them come to trust in Him. During Israel’s darkest hour, the LORD promised His people a day when they would return to their land and enjoy an abundance of His prosperity. Even more so, God promised them a day when they would come to Jerusalem to worship Him and never stray again.

But there is another application for Jeremiah’s prophecy. Matthew refers to this passage at the time of Christ’s birth. Scripture says that when Herod heard that a new king had been born in Israel, he became consumed with jealousy. In a moment of rage he ordered for every child, age two and younger, to be slaughtered by his soldiers. Scripture doesn’t tell us how many children were killed, but it must have been many. As you might imagine, the land of Israel was filled once again with the bitter weeping of grieving mothers. Rachel was once again broken and felt as though she would never be comforted.

But the God of hope is able to make us abound in hope. The mother called Rachel named her son ‘Benoni’ which means: {son of my sorrow}. Yet the son’s father had another name for his child. He called him ‘Benjamin’ which means: {son of my right hand}. The son of sorrow became the son of his father’s right hand.

The Bible says that Jesus was a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’ (Isaiah 53:3) There was great sorrow when Jesus was born. Hundreds, if not thousands of babies were slaughtered. There was also great sorrow when Jesus died. He himself suffered more than any man can imagine and all those who follow Him will have their share of this sorrow as well.

Jesus is a man of sorrows. Yet He is also a man of rejoicing. The Bible teaches us that the man of sorrows (Benoni), is today seated at His Father’s right hand (Benjamin), and that one day He is returning to this earth to make every wrong – right.  On that day, Jesus will bring the nation of Israel to God in salvation and during His Millennial Kingdom, the earth will be filled with His prosperity. Most of all, through Christ, we are able to know God as our heavenly Father and to worship Him forever in His heavenly Jerusalem.

Once again I turn our attention to the book of Psalms: “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Today there are many who filled with sorrow; yet, for all those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, there is coming a day of rejoicing. Rachel and all those who weep will one day rejoice.

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