Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

God as the source of hope – Day 6

Hope for our children

Bible text(s)

The LORD's Mercy on Israel

15The LORD says,

“A sound is heard in Ramah,

the sound of bitter weeping.

Rachel is crying for her children;

they are gone,

and she refuses to be comforted.

Jeremiah 31:15GNBOpen in Bible reader

Rachel and Leah, the wives of Jacob, are referred to in Ruth 4:11 as being the matriarchs of Israel – the mothers of the nation. In Jeremiah 31:15, Rachel is personified as Israel, the bride of God mourning her exiled son – the tribe of Ephraim.

In the Gospel of Matthew we read that this prophesy of Jeremiah was fulfilled when Herod commanded that all boys of two years and younger, who lived in and around Bethlehem, should be killed (Matthew 2:16-17).

Nothing cuts more deeply into one’s heart and leaves one with feelings of shock and anger than when we hear of vulnerable children being callously abused and mistreated. It was with utter abhorrence I read of the 148 children massacred in Peshawar, Pakistan, a few years ago. It was not an isolated incident in a distant land. Not much has changed since the “massacre of the innocents” by Herod.

Child abuse occurs worldwide. Innocent children are often the victims in our broken, sinful world.

Parents, and those to whom children are entrusted, have an onerous responsibility. They need to take every precaution possible to safeguard their charges. It is a duty they dare not take lightly.

Sometimes children are harmed by those responsible for their care . Instead of enjoying a happy, safe environment, they find themselves in a nightmare of suffering and pain.

In a society where women had little status under Jewish Law and children none at all, Jesus made his attitude towards children very clear: “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’ ” (Matthew 19:13-14).

From the cradle to the grave, Jesus is the hope and refuge for all who come to him.

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