The Mediterranean breeze filled the air with fragrance from the flowering trees which grew nearby as shadows from the clustering palms danced upon the lush grass that lined the banks of the river. The diamond studded water shimmered in the light of the sun. Everything about the countryside spoke of peace and tranquility, yet in the air hung a distinct sense of tragedy.
As she stood upon a grassy knoll overlooking the river, tears welled up in her eyes causing the surrounding countryside to melt into one big blur. Hot tears coursed down her cheeks as she held the tiny bundle in her arms.
Looking at the infant form encompassed now with angelic sleep, she saw the contentment that emanated from his countenance as he rested tranquily against her breast. Sorrow cut through her heart like a knife as the reality of what she must do engulfed her emotions.
Her husband stood beside her with his arm placed firmly around her shoulder. He tried to comfort her the best he knew how but her ears were deaf with anguish. Gently but firmly he pried the little child from his mothers arm. As he looked down at the tiny image a faint smile flickered across his angel face. His own eyes brimmed over with tears and moistened the infant’s brow as he tenderly kissed him. Thoughts of God, eternity, the meaning of existence, all flooded into his mind.
For a brief moment he recalled what he had heard as a young boy about the God of his fathers. A prayer suddenly formed in his mind – one that, as it formed, seemed to cry out from the depths of his soul. “O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” he prayed, “If you are the Maker of Heaven and Earth and the Creator of this child, if you are truly alive now and can hear me pray, take this my only son and receive his soul into paradise, and do not hold my sins to my charge.” With one movement of the arms he flung his sleeping child into the river.
A cry of anguish pierced the air as his wife fell in convulsing sobs upon the grass. Quietly, with his own heart shattered into so many pieces that he could not find sounds to express his grief, he knelt down beside his wife to lift her up from the ground. Before he could do so, three soldiers were at their side, dragging them to their feet.
“Up, be off with you,” they jeered as they pushed and shoved the grieving couple back to the road. “Get back to your work, no dawdling, Pharaohs orders!”
The Slaughter of the Innocents
Three times in world history a wholesale slaughter of the “innocents” has taken place that has been filled with significant meaning. The first occurred toward the end of a 400 year period when the nation of Israel was in slavery to the Egyptians. The Hebrew race had been reproducing so fast that the king felt threatened by a potential revolt against his authority, fearing that the slaves would escape the country. Around the year 1526 B.C. Pharaoh ordered that all the male infants born to the Hebrews should no longer be allowed to live and were to be thrown into the Nile River.
The second slaughter of the innocents took place shortly after the birth of Jesus Christ. Persian Magi from the East held among their cast a sacred prophecy that indicated that a new star would appear in the heavens indicating that the Divine Son of God had been born Whom they were to worship and adore.
The Persian Magi followed that star to Jerusalem and since they considered this child whose birth it signified to be a king, they went straight to the palace of King Herod. “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” they asked, “for we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Being secretly enraged by the Magi’s announcement and feeling that a real threat to his throne existed, King Herod called the Jewish leaders together to inquire into the matter. Learning Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, he privately called the Magi to find out exactly when the star had appeared and then sent them to search for the child. When they failed to return with information concerning the infant, Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the children there from the age of two years old and under, in accordance with the Magi’s account of the time frame of the infant’s birth.
The enemy could not snuff them out
There are several similarities to be observed. First and perhaps the most notable is the fact that the slaughtering of the innocents took place around the birth of two of the Bible’s greatest personages – Moses, who delivered the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery and initiated the Old Covenant, and Jesus, who came to deliver men from slavery to sin and death and to initiate the New Covenant. Though living thousands of years apart, satanic inspiration had incited both of these kings to rise up and destroy the children in hopes of eradicating the child who was to be so important in God’s plan of salvation.
Both Moses and Jesus escaped the sinister plots. Moses’ mother feared not the wrath of the king, but hid her son and then made a basket boat for the infant. She set him in the Nile trusting God to come to her aid. Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and was brought up in Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream that King Herod was seeking baby Jesus’ life. He was instructed to take the child to Egypt. Rising before daybreak, he slipped out of Bethlehem shortly before Herod’s soldiers arrived for the massacre. Jesus and his parents remained there until King Herod had died.
The Third Massacre
We come now to the third massacre of the innocents which began in the United States in 1973 with the injunction of Roe vs. Wade. If you are 17 years old, you are the first member of a generation who has been marked out for slaughter and escaped the abortion massacre.
Millions of your fellow classmates never made it to kindergarten, much less to the university, as their life was hopelessly snuffed out in the womb of their mother. USA today reports that of the colleges surveyed 68% revealed that they had a drop this fall in the number of applications from potential first year students because of the birth rate decline that hit the nation in the 1970s.1
Have you ever asked yourself “Why?” Why weren’t you one of the statistics that found its way into the garbage disposal or to the back alley in a trash bag? Why did you live and others die? Why did your parents want you and other parents did not want their children?
If evil forces work behind the will of man as Biblical history teaches, then what is so unique about this generation of young people that sinister forces have sought to destroy it for 17 years? And if despite the exhaustive efforts of the Prince of Darkness to destroy both Moses and Jesus, God delivered them both from destruction to fulfill His will, could there be a divine reason for your deliverance? Could there be a unique purpose for your existence? What great task does God have for this generation to fulfill? If we interpret the abortion massacre in the light of Biblical history, this generation is most assuredly marked out as a generation of destiny.
The Marks of God’s Call
Do you desire more from life than an education, a good job, marriage, a home, a car, material security, children, retiremant and dying? Is there a desire in your heart for something more than this? Do you desire that your life count for something, bigger than yourself? That your life will make a difference in this world? Do you desire to make a contribution to society that will cause you to be remembered after your life is over?
Do you have a deep reverence for divine things? Are you sensitive to matters of heart and conscience? Are you discontent with the world’s moral standards or your own lack of holiness? Do you have a consuming spiritual hunger?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then your life is marked with the call of God. Yet many who have had the same earnest desire have lived and died leaving behind only a question mark on their tomb stone. What makes the difference? How can you discover God’s plan?
An Encounter with the Living God
The obvious answer is that you cannot discover God’s plan without an encounter with the Living God which ultimately will bring an intimate knowledge of His will. When Isaiah the prophet saw Him he recorded that, he saw the Lord high and lifted up and His train filled the temple and the pillars of the temple shook from His presence. Angelic beings flew around Him crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.”
And when he saw Him, Isaiah prostrated himself and confessed his sinfulness saying, “What a wretched state I am in! I am lost because I am a foul-mouthed man and I live among a foul-mouthed people.” Then one of the angels took a coal from off the altar and cleansed his lips, his iniquity was taken away, and his sin was forgiven. Then it was that he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send and whom will go for me?” and Isaiah answered, “Here am I, send me.“2
“No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God.“3 When God first announced his plan for redemption to Adam and Eve, they were hiding in mortal fear from the presence of the Lord because of their sin and disobedience. Since that time, the presence of the Divine has always brought fear to the hearts of sinful men.
Whenever there has been any manifestation of God, there has always been something that dismayed the onlookers, that daunted and overawed them, that struck them with a terror more than natural. It was not the fear of bodily harm , but it was a dread consternation experienced far in toward the center and core of their nature.4
Such fear is a supernatural thing. It has a mysterious quality about it, often without much intellectual content. It is a feeling rather than an idea. It is a deep reaction of a fallen creature in the presence of the Holy Being the stunned heart knows is God. It is an emotion that only the Holy Spirit can induce in the human heart. It is a knowledge that arises in the heart when there is a knowledge of our own sinfulness and a sense of the presence of God.5
The Cross of Christ
At the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through which a man or a woman is reconciled to God, is a cross It was on a cross that Jesus shed his blood for the sins of man to secure their redemption It is not a thing of beauty, but it is, as Jesus taught it, a thing of death. It is not something you hang around your neck as an ornament, or some kind of symbol you outline in front of your face to ward off evil.
“The cross of Christ is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men.“6 Jesus was alive when they hung Him on the cross and completely dead when they took Him down. After Jesus arose from the dead, he commissioned his disciples to go out and preach His message to the world to reconcile men to God. They went out and preached the cross.7
Jesus taught, “If any man will come after me he must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me, or he cannot be my disciple.” The cross brings the victim’s life to an end. It defeats its opponent, imposing its will upon him, The cross always dominates. It never compromises, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end the life that is upon it as fast as possible. It destroys the old pattern of life and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Jesus from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins, abundant, full of meaning, in close fellowship with the Living God.8
The life of faith and trust in God that the Bible teaches is a revolutionizing thing. It upsets the whole life and makes you another person altogether. It lays hold on your life and brings it under obedience to Jesus Christ. It takes up the cross and follows along after Jesus with no intention of going back to the old ways of life. It says goodbye to old friends. It has a finality about it. It captures a man or woman and makes him from that moment forward a happy love-servant of his Lord.9
The faith in God that Jesus taught is not just mental agreement. It realigns all life’s actions and brings them into accord with the will of God. It makes men and women little and God big and Christ unspeakably dear. All this and more happens when a man or woman receives the faith that justifies them before God.10
The faith of Christ will command you or it will have nothing to do with you. It will not yield to experimentation. Its power cannot reach anyone who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough. To receive true faith as Jesus taught it, you must put yourself in a position where you cannot go back. Faith must result in an everlasting irrevocable commitment.
Jesus issues the invitation, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” He will use no coercion, and neither will He compromise. God does not offer you a cafeteria of plans from which you can pick and choose the plan you like the best. Men and women cannot make the terms, they must merely agree to them. Deliverance comes only by denial of self. Discovery of God’s great plan for your life only comes only to the man or woman who surrenders their will to His will. Only then can God’s great purpose for you be known.
And what about the abortion massacre? Why the enemy’s fury? Perhaps the answer can be found when that tiny band of Pilgrims knelt on that rocky New England shore and dedicated this nation and those who would inhabit it to Almighty God, for His service and the establishment of His kingdom.
Perhaps the key can be found in the words of Albert J. Beveridge, statesman/historian, who remarked to the United States Senate at the turn of the century, “God has not been preparing us for vain and idle self-contemplation and self-admiration. No. He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the redemption of the world.“11
Perhaps, the answer can be found in a speech given by Ronald Reagan before he received the Presidential nomination when he said, “When Washington’s men were freezing at Valley Forge, Tom Paine told his fellow Americans: ‘We have it in our power to begin this world over again.’
“We still have that power. I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival. We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the movement (founding of America ) began … now a troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny.”
All to Jesus, I surrender, All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
All to Jesus, I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior,
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus, I surrender, Lord,
I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessings fall on me.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee , my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
- Judson W. Van De Venter
1 USA Today, August 6, 1990, “LifeLine,” College Math, Sec. D, p.1. 2 Paraphrase of portions of Isa. 6, from 26 Translations.
3 A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, “The Terror of the Lord,” (Christian Pub., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania) p.38.
4 Ibid, p.39. 5 Ibid, pp.40-41
6 Ibid, “The Cross is a Radical Thing” p.61. 7 Ibid, p.62.
8 Ibid, pp.62-63. 9 Ibid, p.46. 10 Ibid.
11 Ernest Lee Tuveson, Redeemer Nation, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) p.vii.
Copyright © Bob and Rose Weiner 2007, All Rights Reserved