Faithlife Sermons

God Is Always Ready To Rescue

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Question

When do you begin to celebrate Christmas?
Before Thanksgiving?
After Thanksgiving?
How many times would you say you have heard the Christmas story?
Probably more times than you can count.

Scripture

Sometimes when we think we know everything there is to know about a story, we can miss some important details.
You know how we love to celebrate the manger scene with the shepherds, wise men, and fuzzy animals? Well that may not have been and entirely joyful story.
The birth of Jesus was smelly as he was around a bunch of animals.
At the time of Jesus birth, King Herod was ruling over the area.
Throughout his reign, Herod did terrible things in order to stay in power. He was known for banishing, imprisoning, and killing people he thought could threaten him.
Because of his hunger for power, the Christmas story doesn’t end with joy and peace. It ends with a great injustice.
Read Matthew 2:1-18
Matthew 2:1–18 (CSB)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah:
Because out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.
Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship him.”
After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen at its rising. It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.
After they were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called my Son.
Then Herod, when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
and she refused to be consoled,
because they are no more.
Once again, an angel played a key part in this part of the Christmas story. But this time, the angel didn’t appear with a message about a baby, a promise fulfilled, or good news for the whole world. Instead, the angel came with a message to run.
In an attempt to kill baby Jesus, Scripture says King Herod had every infant boy in the area killed, leading Mary and Joseph to flee with baby Jesus into Egypt as refugees.
The Bible is filled wit stories of tragedy, trouble, fear, and confusion - but God is always at work in the midst of every situation.
Herod may have been working on his plan to maintain power and control, but God was at work carrying out the real plan. God’s plan was to ensure the safety and rescue of the people Herod intended to harm.

Scripture

The Bible isn’t about perfect people with perfect lives. It’s about people who trusted God to rescue them from even the most terrible situations.
Throughout history, God’s people have found themselves in deep trouble, The book of Psalms tells many of the times God’s people needed to be rescued.
Sometimes they needed to be rescued from their own sin and its consequences.
Sometimes they needed to be rescued from a challenging situation.
Sometime they needed to be rescued from their enemies.
Read Psalms 80:1-7
Psalm 80:1–7 (CSB)
Listen, Shepherd of Israel,
who leads Joseph like a flock;
you who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine on Ephraim,
Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Rally your power and come to save us.
Restore us, God;
make your face shine on us,
so that we may be saved.
Lord God of Armies,
how long will you be angry
with your people’s prayers?
You fed them the bread of tears
and gave them a full measure
of tears to drink.
You put us at odds with our neighbors;
our enemies mock us.
Restore us, God of Armies;
make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved.
This is just one Psalm, but there are many more like it. Over and over again, you see God’s people crying out for help.
Maybe your having a season that is merry and bright, great!
Maybe your having a season that is not full of joy but pain. Feeling lost, or hurting, or afraid, or hopeless.
The first Christmas wasn’t perfectly peaceful either. Whatever your’e going through, Christmas is a reminder that God is always ready to rescue.
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