Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
I had joined the firm with great excitement and naively expected everyone there to be just as excited for me to join the team. One associate in particular seemed to give me the cold shoulder quite often. I chalked this up to differing personalities and the reality that not everyone will like me. One day, I decided to confide in my boss that I thought perhaps I had done or said something to offend this associate. I figured my boss would tell me it was nothing and that my colleague was just not friendly. Instead, he advised me that this man was actually threatened by my arrival because he thought it was a sign that he might be on his way out. He would have acted the same toward whoever they hired because he figured that person was there to take his place.
That man was faced with a figment of his own imagination which told him that the appearance of a new colleague must mean that his time there soon would be coming to an end. Whatever the source of this insecurity, his response was to do what he thought necessary to preserve his position and keep me at bay. Herod also was moved by the desire for self-preservation, but his response was much more extreme. A man who was no stranger to ending the lives of others in order to maintain his position, he would stoop so low as to murder innocent children because of his own idea that the coming king of the Jews was there to rule in his place. He could take no chance that he was wrong in his understanding of messianic prophecy, and his royal throne was not something he would surrender voluntarily.
Self-preservation is a hodgepodge of fear, pride, entitlement and often error. Some will go to great evil lengths to try to hold on to that which they feel is exclusively theirs to possess, but the threat of loss can be nothing more than delusion. The call of God is for us to be willing to let go of all temporary things without a feeling of loss because those things all will pass away one day. That which is eternal cannot be taken from us. That which we should strive to preserve cannot be stripped from us by any man. If we understand this, the threat of losing that which is temporary and subject to decay will seem like no threat at all. Father, keep us from becoming attached to the things of this world, happily surrendering those things which we know will not last.