The birth of Jesus was not a happy coincidence of timing, lineage, and personality, so that a little boy with just the right heritage could aspire to be a king over a fledging people. “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David [are]… from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations” (Mt. 1:1, 17c). No. Matthew’s account reveals that when Jesus came as a baby to Earth, He did not aspire to be a king. He already was the King of all kings, deliberately coming at that time and to that place. Jesus came because all of mankind suffered under the crushing weight of their own sin as it manifested itself personally and politically.
Our times are not unlike those of Israel’s during the time of Ezekiel, deported by sin to the spiritual desert of a materialistic Babylon. Like Israel then, the world today is in desperate need of a Good Shepherd, a Savior King, to lead us out of our sin and out from under the boot of evil leadership, forcing the people ever deeper into the cult of physical well-being. The modern West needs princes and pastors who, like Jesus, seek first to shield the sheep from believing lies, feeding them at great personal cost.
Ezekiel, a prophet during Israel’s exile to Babylon, explains that both the leaders and the people were adrift in a void of darkness. Describing the leaders, God says, “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and destroying lives in order to get dishonest gain” (Ez. 22:27). We see this in America as her princely politicians push and ram for position by promoting and protecting the slaughter of our sons and daughters through abortion on the idolatrous altar of unfettered personal pleasure. Similarly, “The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy” (Ez. 22:29a). God through Ezekiel points out that the people’s sin was deserving not only their current exile, but His full wrath. What was it they were doing? They “committed adultery with their idols and even caused their sons whom they bore to Me, to pass through the fire to them as food… For when they had slaughtered their children for their idols, they entered My sanctuary on the same day to profane it” (Ez. 23:37b, 39).
Is America’s sin of abortion so different? God’s view is that when we deem abortion a private matter between a woman and her doctor, or a political matter about which God’s people should remain silent, we tacitly participate in the robbery of the neediest of people – preborn boys and girls – thereby betraying our deep spiritual poverty.
Who could save Israel’s people from being abused by evil leaders? And who could save Israel from themselves? After all, statesmen are products of the people. So it is that God says, “I searched for a man among them… but I found no one” (Ez. 22:30). Sinful leaders unstop the dam of wickedness which cascades upon society, scattering the sheep, making them a food to the flooding lusts of the powerful among them. How do evil leaders behave? “Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them” (Ez. 34:4).
What is God’s solution to the sinful self-exiled and the battered and scattered? Himself. “For thus says the LORD GOD, ‘Behold, I Myself will search for my sheep… As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I… will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day” (Ez. 34: 11-12).
We are in the midst of a “cloudy and gloomy day.” America’s leadership and the behavior of her people exiled us to a moral Babylon. The blind lead the blind. The solution today is the same as it was 2,000 years ago: Immanuel, God with Us, the One “To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). The Church through CompassCare is doing just that for a woman considering abortion, lighting the way to peace, for her and for her preborn boy or girl.
Merry Christmas, for “unto us a Child is born,”
Rev. James R. Harden, M.Div.
P.S. Give a child the greatest gift of all this Christmas… a birthday.
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