Advent Devotional – Friday, December 23, 2016 – Hasty Obedience
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18 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.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. 21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. – Matthew 2:13-23
This part of the Christmas story is fascinating. Think of the absolute faith and obedience Joseph had to have to relocate his family and life for a simple dream. Think of what would have happened had he not obeyed. I wonder if he knew his obedient actions were fulfilling prophecy? I wonder what Mary thought about the whole thing. And yet, knowing her servant heart, I‘m sure she was the ideal wife working endlessly for the safety of their precious child.
What a blessing that God speaks in many ways to His people, even today. He uses dreams, as in this story. He uses His Word, songs, and words of wisdom from a friend or loved one. Can we hear what he has to say? My hope is that we stop and are able to hear that still, small whisper. Imagine what would have happened and how God‘s story would be different if Joseph had not listened and obeyed with haste? God, thank you for Joseph’s example of obedience here. Thank you for speaking to us, even today. May we always come to you with open palms, ready to do as you ask, even if it doesn’t make sense.