Tuesday, December 21, 2010
 ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel- which is translated “God with us”. Matthew 1:23. This is an interesting- and important verse for all believers- we celebrate the reality of the virgin birth of Jesus during this season. Do you know where this verse comes from originally? It comes from the mouth of the prophet Isaiah [chapter 7]. The scenario is the king of Judah [Ahaz] is targeted by 2 other nations- Israel [the northern tribe of Israel] and Syria. These 2 kings make an alliance against the southern tribe of Judah and decide to make a breach [hole] in Judah’s wall and use their land as a staging ground for future military and economic purposes. The king of Judah hears about the plan and the bible says ‘he- and all the people shook like trees in the wind’- yes it felt like Rumsfeld was coming with a shock and awe campaign. Then in the midst of this fear- God tells Isaiah the prophet ‘go to the king and speak with him’. Isaiah gives him a prophetic word to not fear these 2 nations- their plans will not succeed. Then Isaiah tells the king ‘ask God for a sign- in heaven or earth’ and Ahaz says no, he will not test God. Isaiah then prophesies the above verse about Jesus. It just seems so strange for this verse, about Jesus- the Prince of Peace- to come in the middle of a military setting like this. The other day I saw some video of our troops in Iraq/Afghanistan- it was video leaked by the Wikileaks organization. They showed a few instances of our pilots in attack helicopters chasing down suspected insurgents in vehicles. You see the video of the chase, and the men in the vehicle getting out of the car and holding their hands up to surrender. The pilot radios back to his commander that they are surrendering- the commander tells them they are not able to take prisoners during the helicopter attack [obviously it would be difficult- you would have to land- slow down the entire operation for a few hours, and then go back to base camp and unload them- yes- it would be very inconvenient]. So the commander tells the pilot ‘we can’t take them’ the pilot doesn’t know what to do. The commander says ‘they are still targets’ after about 3 seconds of waiting- the pilot realizes the commander is saying ‘shoot them- with their hands up’ they do. Now, do I demonize our brave pilots for this- No. What about the commander- not really- though he bares more responsibility for the call- it was later shown that we do indeed take prisoners with helicopters. But I ‘blame’ the political miscalculations that were made years ago that allowed these men to kill these surrendering forces. They also showed video of a chopper targeting a building- as they unload the payload and destroy the building, you see a civilian walking right in front of the building- unaware of the impending attack. He’s blown away. Later- when the investigative journalists found the report for that attack- there was no mention of the civilian death. Just last week we pulled our station chief out of Pakistan- he’s the head C.I.A. guy running the drone operation from the country. In essence he’s in charge of the ‘remote control’ planes that bomb certain targets. Many innocent civilians have been killed thru these attacks. Mothers and fathers have sued the U.S. govt. over the deaths of their relatives and children. They showed protesters in the streets calling for justice for their loved ones. The Pakistanis finally realized the station chief is the person running the show and they ran him out of the country. How would you feel if someone was conducting a remote control war on your block and was accidently killing your son or daughter? King Ahaz was in the middle of the thicket- worrying about the next military move to be made against him- God sent a prophet to him in the midst of the action- he prophesied of one to come some 700 years later. A sign if you will- a virgin will conceive a child and this child will speak truth to power. He will stand before the governor of Rome [Pilate] and give no defense. Pilate will say ‘don’t you realize I have the power to take your life- my status and class have allowed me to rise in the political ranks to hold a position where I make the decision if you live or die’ Jesus responds ‘you have no power over me- accept what God permits- those who delivered me to you- they will have more to answer for’. It was the political posturing of the Jewish leaders- those who manipulated the system to get what they wanted politicaly- those were the ones who were to bare the greater blame. May Immanuel- may ‘God be with us’ all in this travesty.