Summary: A look at Ramah, one of the places mentioned in Ezra’s list and also in the Christmas story.
There are many unfamiliar names mentioned in Ezra’s list of returning Jews. But there are a few familiar names. One of them is Ramah. At first glance it might not appear to be. But think of Matthew 2 which tells us of Jesus’ birth - "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (verse 18). In 600 BC Jeremiah made the original prediction - "Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not" (31:15).
1. RAMAH WAS A PLACE OF MURDER
Matthew 2:16 "Herod...sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under..."
When we read of this infanticide, it is hard not to think of abortion. In Britain, more than 6 million unborn children have been murdered since 1967 - our own holocaust. We claim to be a civilised nation who would never commit the crimes of Nazi Germany yet we are just as guilty as Hitler and his bloodthirsty regime. Marie Stopes International is one of the leading pro-abortion organisations. Marie Stopes was born in Scotland in 1880. She organised protests outside places of worship and shared many of Hitler’s beliefs.
2. RAMAH WAS A PLACE OF MADNESS
Matthew 2:16 "Herod...was exceeding wroth..."
Some people say Herod was mentally unstable. Whether this was true or not is not the issue. He was a sinful man. Sin was his main problem. Today, we hear of criminals getting off on grounds of ’diminished responsibility.’ Their sinful heart is the main problem. Lawyers make excuses for them and the guilty go free. This should not happen.
Herod’s hatred was directed at Christ. The hatred of abortionists is also directed at Christ. This hatred is found in the heart of every sinner.
3. RAMAH WAS A PLACE OF MOURNING
Matthew 2:18 "...lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning..."
The parents were mourning for their children.
God calls us to mourn over:
a) sin - both personal and national
b) the Saviour - Zechariah 12:10 "...they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son..."
4. RAMAH WAS A PLACE OF MERCY
The second part of Jeremiah’s prophecy is rarely quoted but it is well worth considering - "Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border" (31:16,17).
One final thought to ponder. God was merciful in allowing children to die instead of adults. The children went straight to heaven. If unbelieving adults had died, they would have gone straight to hell.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty