John the Baptist was born into jacked up times.
Remember Herod the Great?
He was the one jealous of the prophesied King to be born under a star.
He was the one who ordered the killing of the baby boys two and under.
Yes, that Herod was ruling when John the Baptist was born.
Herod was an Idumean under Roman domination, ruling over the Jewish people. Gentiles were everywhere throughout the land, ruling, and taxing the people.*
The Jewish people were oppressed IN the promised land.
And the religious leaders of the Jews? Oh! Many were blind guides, who strained out gnats and white washed their tombs of dead men’s bones keeping people from God instead of ministering God to the people.
And to show the mix up of this time period further: A movement began to search the scriptures to see what the future held. Many believed that the time had come for the Messiah.*
John grew up in the desert- He was a Levite,
a priest from the line of Aaron from the tribe of Levi FROM BOTH SIDES!
Yes, Zacharias, John’s father AND Elizabeth, John’s mother
Both descended from the line of Aaron.
He had Levite coming from both sides.
A priest with a call to prepare the way for the Great High Priest, Jesus.
Now, stick with me and listen to what Malachi, the last prophet to speak in the Old Testament before the four hundred years of silence that preceded John and Jesus’s birth says concerning the Levites. First, he admonishes the priests and then says this:
“And you will know that I have sent you this admonition
so that MY COVENANT
with Levi may continue,”
says the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY,
“MY COVENANT was with him,
a COVENANT of life and peace,
and I gave them to him.
This called for reverence and he revered me
and stood in awe
of my name.”
Remember the jacked up times John the Baptist was born into? Put that together with Malachi’s prophesy and like my thirteen year old daughter would say, “Bam!”.
God’s Covenant with Levi continues with this Levi of a Levite, Mr. John the Baptist!
Would you chew on that for a minute with me? Picture God for a moment taking a divine finger and pointing at His chest every time He makes reference to Himself in that verse. Go back and read it again. Every time He points to Himself… He is talking about the God of the universe, the One who speaks and light appears, water parts, stars spread across the sky. And those words He speaks? Here’s what Isaiah proclaims:
“The grass withers the flowers fades,
But the Word of our God stands forever” 40:8
And let’s get this afresh: Jacked up places, messed up situations, evil and abuses piled high DO NOT Negate God’s Word.
Everything I may have leaned up against might have been flimsy like grass and fading like a flower. But God is a rock. I can be sure I can lean up hard against Him and He will not fall over.
His will is not always done, we know. It is not His will for a man to walk in a classroom with guns to blow away the brave that answer, “I am a Christian”.
We can rest assured
His purposes are NEVER thwarted.
One of His purposes is that His people trust the Truth over the fear of a gun… the rejection of man, the loud voices of doubt, unbelief, and ego.
For a little while, and in some of our places it will seem like evil has the victory.
He made a covenant.
He will come in and fulfill
He has a plan and it is already set in motion.
And Dear Reader, you and I can take that to the bank of faith and securely deposit it there.
In Memory of the Slain at UCC in Oregon
God, stir up your Word in the hearts of this Oregon community, so that they lean hard against You, the Unchanging God. Thank you for the faithful, who knew he would shoot, and said, “I am a Christian”. To You We Give All the Glory!
In Christ Alone,
* The quotes marked with an asterisk are from: The Journey Through the Bible by V. Gilbert Beers