The Divine Orchestrator
The Divine Orchestrator
“This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet.”
The threat was real, and the fear, apprehension, and anxiety were genuine. The joy of the visit of the Magi was short-lived, as Herod’s political paranoia brought death and destruction. If we were in Joseph’s and Mary’s shoes, we would have wondered how a God who is infinite in power could allow Herod to threaten the life of the Messianic king. If God brought about the birth of Jesus by altering the laws of nature, how could God remain silent when Herod plotted to put Jesus to death? We glimpse their apprehension and fear of Joseph when Joseph hears that Archelaus, Herod’s son, reigns over Judea. He had planned to return to Bethlehem after the threat of Herod passed at Herod’s death. But when he found out that Herod’s son, who was equally as paranoid, Joseph’s mind was apprehensive and fearful. Again we are confronted with the question: How could an omnipotent God allow a mere human to be a threat to his redemptive plan that he established throughout all of history?
The answer to the question of God of Herod and Archelaus was that they were not a threat to God’s plan; instead, God was manipulating the situation so that his plan might be fulfilled. In both cases, when there was a threat to the well-being of Joseph and his family, Matthew points out that there was, in fact, no threat at all. Instead, God was utilizing the threats to accomplish his prophetic purpose. God used both of these instances to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies given regarding the arrival of the Messiah.
We need to affirm two essential truths to understand why adversity comes into our lives. First, God is not the cause of evil and hardship. In James 1, James reminds us that God is not the cause of sin and evil. We face tragedy in our life because of the sin in the world. When Adam (and all humanity with him) rebelled against God, sin entered the world, and with sin came death and destruction. But here, we must also affirm the second important truth. Even when people act sinfully against us, God is working behind the scenes to move within the circumstances to accomplish his good purpose. Joseph could forgive his brothers, who sold him into slavery, because he firmly grasped this vital truth. When his brothers were fearful of Joseph’s revenge, Joseph reminded them, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for God in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Evil and suffering is never a threat to God’s overarching purpose for our life. As Paul affirms in Romans 8:28, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” This does not mean that all things are good. Death, tragedy, and evil are never good and never God’s desire, but they are the result of sin in the world. However, God is at work amid these events orchestrating and moving the circumstances in our lives to accomplish what is eternally good. God used the evil intent of Herod and Archelaus to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies that served to validate further Jesus' claim to be the Messianic King.
No matter what we face in life, if our focus and trust are upon God, we have the assurance that God is working to achieve what is eternally good in every circumstance and situation, even in times of adversity. God is the divine orchestrator who guides and directs all events to accomplish his holy purpose, which is always good.