Troubled Or Triumphant

We all can expect some type of trouble from the time we are born to the day that we die, but it remains up to us what to do with that trouble. Sometimes we are to just cast it out. Other times we are to use it to spur us on to victory. The Holy Bible shows us both are possible.
Troubled Or Triumphant
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2015 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

Not one day goes by without some type of trouble, whether it be minor or major trouble. If you get as old as me you start recalling “the good old days,” but the reality is “the good old days” had their share of trouble too. And, really, centuries before us, going as far back as the day Adam disobeyed his Creator, there was trouble.

For this message let us not go back that far, though it would be a great starting point, but let us go to when Christ was born. Centuries before that, Israel (the Northern Kingdom) fell to

Assyria and its people were taken away captive. Judah followed “in their shoes.” A remnant eventually returned, but Jewish territory was sequentially controlled by gentile nations, from generally Media-Persia, to Greece, and then Rome.

Yet the powerful prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 indicated God’s prophetic clock was ticking away and it was time for Messiah to come. Most Jews knew this, and many Gentiles did too. By the Holy Spirit Matthew records an entourage from the East saw a celestial indicator that Messiah had been born and they decided to pay this King a visit. The text of Matthew 2 infers there may have been overcast skies near the ending of their journey. The magi, wise men, arrived at Jerusalem, the Jewish capitol, to find Him. Here is part of the record from Matthew 2:1-6.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. 5  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 

Among a number of contrasts in Matthew 2, verses 3 to 4 stand in contrast with verses 5 to 6. From those verses we can find a number of principles applicable to life. We will consider the present passage as a contrast between being troubled or triumphant.

I. Troubled 3-4

Although we all face various troubles throughout our lives we must not be troubled at Christ (Messiah). Herod the Great often had great fear, especially the fear that he would be removed as King. Some of his own family members were victims of that fear and were murdered by Herod. So the news that “the King of the Jews" had been born gave him great concern. 

Satan was behind the temperament of Herod, as it is today with ISIL, Boko Harem, Hezbollah, and similar groups. Indeed, if military forces would wipe out those groups today there would be new ones tomorrow, although it is not really new but dates back to the time Cain slew Abel. Yet, true Christians do not lose hope because just as the murderous Saul of Tarsus was converted so it happens from time to time today. And, besides, Christ wins in the end!

Though I despise Herod’s temperament, I can understand it to a point. He was only partly Jewish and next to self he was loyal to Rome. What I find a tad disturbing are the words, “. . . and all Jerusalem with him." To my knowledge at that time mainly Jews lived in Jerusalem. They were supposed to be expecting the Messiah. But it seems to me that most people were either too cozy with the current political situation or did not consider the purposes and power of God and perhaps were even afraid of them. Whatever the reason was, Jerusalem did not desire the presence of the Messiah.

Herod and Jerusalem remind me of the world system which is troubled at the second advent of Christ. Psalm 2 very well depicts this sentiment. There is an agitation, even though they do not know the written Word nor the times we are in as shown in the Word. Essentially, the millennial reign of Christ draws near. It might be as close to seven years away from the time this article is published. It might be longer, but true Christians hope and pray it will not be much longer.

II. Triumphant 5-6

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, . . .”

Now we have a stark contrast. Despite trouble there is hope. However, the unregenerate do not see the hope or, if they do, they fear to grasp on to it for they love and trust the world system more. But they forget that God created the world, man permitted sin to enter in, and God has lovingly and mercifully provided the remedy which was announced to satan {1} in the presence of Adam and Eve.

From Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son, there came a line of what I and others term “the godly seed,” or perhaps “the godly line.” If we follow this line it takes us to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Somewhat in the midst of that line is the second king of Israel, David. David had been born in Bethlehem.

Years after David’s death the Holy Spirit moved upon the prophet Micah to state, “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” Micah 5:2. This is the verse referred to by the religious leaders when they made their reply to Herod.

Note that it says in Micah, “Bethlehem Ephratah.” Bethlehem means {2} “house of bread.” Ephratah, the more ancient name of the location, means “ash heap.” This speaks to us that God can and will take an defeat and bring about a victory. One can go from being an ash heap to a house of bread. This merciful working of God is mentioned in Isaiah 61:3 in regard to the Messiah: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of YHVH, that He might be glorified."

Though Ephratah was transformed to Bethlehem, it was still smaller than Jerusalem and a number of other locations in Judah. Yet God said it too will excel for He said through Micah “ . . .  Are not the least among


the rulers of Judah;  For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel." This, in part, was God fulfilling His promises and executing His decrees.

For millenia some had looked for the Messiah. The first generation or so after Adam had the correct focus as to what the Messiah would do, but over the course of time most of the Jewish minds began to look for a Messiah that would finally rescue them from the political dilemma they were in. However, the Holy Scriptures pointed out peoples’ minds and hearts had to be corrected spiritually first. This is one reason why Messiah had to first arrive as a helpless baby.

Once God through His Son veiled Himself of our flesh, choosing not to use His powers and prerogatives of deity (Philippians 2:5-13) He lived the perfect life each one of us needs to live in order to please the Father. Then, at the proper time, He also took our sin and as a result received the punishment we are supposed to get. He physically died and was raised again. All of this comprises the salvation offered to us. Anyone who trusts in the finished work of Christ to the point whereby they put His faith within into action learns to crucify the flesh an let Christ’s resurrected victorious life flow through them.

Nonetheless, we will still encounter trouble and be troubled within from time to time. However, the Word of God is clear that we must not be troubled like the world. We must handle being troubled like Christ handled being troubled.

First, if we are going to be troubled then we should be troubled for a good reason. The word used for Herod being troubled is basically the same word for Christ being troubled in John 11:33, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled." Lazarus, Mary’s and Martha’s brother, had died. He had been dead for four days and his body was decaying. The people felt Jesus came too late and there was no hope.

At that moment Jesus knew, though, His future work on the cross and consequential resurrection would bring about glorious godly Eternal Life. He was saddened not because Lazarus had physically died but because the power of God was veiled from the eyes of His fellow Jews as well as of the present life of hope. Now, after the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Scriptures indicate that true disciples have great hope and should not morn like those without hope when death strikes (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

But there are other troubled times before the end of this earthly life, but those that pose the greatest peril to us are the ones that would encourage us to step out of the will of God. Those are the times our spirit knows what God says, but our soul and even our body want to go in the opposite direction. However, we have definite powerful help, because Jesus had been in that same basic place. Note what Christ says in the following verses from the Gospel of John:

12:27--  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

13:21--  When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

There were other times too, but the point is that Christ went through them and He did so victoriously. That is why if He dwells within us, we too can have His victory direct our actions.  Again, from the Gospel of John, consider these verses:

14:1--  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

14:27--  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

16:33-- These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Totally surrendering to Christ places His very life within us. The Victor is in us, so therefore we can be victorious over being troubled within. Either by His grace we will cast away that troubled sense (1 Peter 5:7), or use it to further His purposes, but in both cases we will glorify God through the life of Christ within us. We also enjoy the beginning of Eternal Life, and if we stay with Christ we will enjoy it forever. Though troubled, we can be triumphant, and triumphant not only now but for all eternity, thanks be to God through Jesus Christ.

Notes: 

{1} Not capitalized on purpose. Experts Column gives me the freedom to express myself in that way.

{2} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by February 1, 2016 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M389 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 29-07-2016 113 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    Unforgiven and unforgiving people have higher rates of stress-related disorders, clinical depression and divorce. Forgiveness contributes to a healthy life.
    reply 0
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