13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
What was Herod thinking? “If I just kill God’s son then I will be safe as the king of my world.” Really? It sounds absurd, but an astonishing number of people today seem to think that they can be kings of their worlds if they could just kill off God.
I’m not sure what Joseph was thinking, but he responded with extraordinary faith. It would have been tempting to think “Who’s in control here, God? You or Herod? Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” But right away, in the middle of the night, he takes his family, abandons his life and flees to Egypt. (I love Joseph: such a man of faith!)
We get a fairly good idea what Matthew is thinking. He’s seen that God said this would happen 750 years earlier. God knew exactly what he was doing. Matthew saw how Herod’s efforts to destroy Jesus end up validating him. Yet again, God brings good things out of evil (Romans 8:28).
What am I thinking?
Jesus showed he was prepared and able to confront his enemies. But he also tells us to be discerning: “Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.“ (Matthew 7:6); and “be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
I think I should be bold in taking my place in God’s battles. But not every battle is one he wants me to fight. If it’s God’s battle then I will be on the winning side if I stick close to him. But if I charge in without him, I’ll lose badly.
How will I know when to fight and when to run? I have to listen to God as carefully as Joseph, and respond with as much faith. How can I be sure that what I am doing is part of the things God is doing? Watch him as carefully as Jesus did (John 5:19).
Jesus, where are we going today?
Written by David Cornell