Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they (the magi) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” 14 And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt; 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Out of Egypt did I call My Son.”
When I read this passage of scripture, two thoughts immediately come to mind:
- When God wants to tell us something, He can figure out a way to get it done.
- I am so glad that God sees the beginning, the end, and everything in between.
It was essential for Joseph to hear God’s voice. We may feel a little jealous if we have never had an angelic encounter. God used the readiness of the mind during sleep to accept the message of the heavenly messenger. Did you notice that? The “angel of the Lord appeared…in a dream!” But unlike many dreams, Joseph could remember with startling clarity what message was conveyed: “Get out of town!”
Herod would soon be furious over the slight of the magi. By God’s divine instruction, they headed home by a different route in order to bypass the Judean king. God knew the events that were about to transpire. He always does. And always, God has a plan for us in whatever is headed our way. If we’re listening and ready to comply with God’s design, we will always remain in the center of His will, even if life gets really ugly.
A new season of time stands before us. There are so many unknowns about it. Will I still have my job at the end of the year? Will I lose anyone close to me in the months ahead? What tragedies await me just around the corner? What school-of-hard-knocks does God have planned for me now? What disease is lurking in my body that will show itself in the days ahead? Yes—there are so many unknowns. But not one of them is a surprise to God!
Psalm 139:3-4, 16
3 Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all.
16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Joseph and Mary understood the omniscient nature of God. They understood that God’s knowledge supersedes all time. He is in the past, present and future all at once! The Almighty is not bound by this arena of time in which we live. So—with absolute trust in the command of God, they scurried out of town in the dark of night to avoid any witnesses to their departure. Joseph’s obedience was immediate and complete, even though it brought them even farther from their home in Nazareth.
This is a place of pain, humiliation, despair, helplessness, enslavement, bondage, lostness…
Egypt was not a positive place for an Israelite. Their forefathers and families were debased in this despicable land. Four hundred and thirty years of slavery was cruelly etched into the fabric of these chosen people. By the way, did you know that they also spent four hundred and thirty years in the Promised Land…and then four hundred and thirty years in Babylonian and Persian exile? They returned to Jerusalem in 430BC…that’s right! Four hundred and thirty years after returning to their land of promise, the Savior comes, only to be sent back into exile again!
So when God tells Joseph and Mary to flee into Egypt, it required a special faith in the knowledge, wisdom and trustworthiness of God.
But they go.
They go into exile. In Egypt. Because God told them to go.
I’m quite sure that God will sneak up on you some day soon and say, “I want you to do this ridiculous thing that looks like sheer lunacy. Will you do it?” What will you answer?
It all depends upon how well you know God…how much you can trust in His infinite wisdom and undying love.
Will you go?
ACTION: What two or three things could you do or implement in your life that will help you know God better in this coming year? Talk to God about these today.