A Time To Flee
What do you do when a cunning, lying tyrant wants to kill your baby and your baby is the Son of God? One thing you don’t do is say, “There’s nothing to worry about!! God is sovereignly in control so we can sit tight and let God take care of him and us.” Matthew, the tax collector, strongly believes in God’s sovereignty, but he describes a different response by both the Magi and the stepfather of Jesus when Herod’s murderous plot gets exposed.
“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they (the wise men) returned to their country another way. And after they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, “Get up! Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I give you further instructions, for Herod is about to search for the child to kill him. So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother and fled for Egypt during the night.” Matthew 2:12-14
In Matthew’s account both the wise men and Joseph play the role of good, wise characters. They listen to clear divine revelation, and they obey it. The wisemen get up and return home another away without giving Herod the vital info he needs to murder Jesus, and Joseph gets his young family up and escapes with the precious mother and child by night to Egypt away from Herod’s jurisdiction.
Herod’s threatening plot foreshadows what will happen in the climax of Jesus’ earthly story. The Serpent will get his chance to strike the heel of the great Male Child (Genesis 3:15), but not yet.
In the birth narrative the wise men teach me to be careful not to give tyrants, like Herod, any information they need to carry out their destructive schemes. Joseph teaches me, especially as a father and grandfather, that I am responsible to act when my family is in danger. The Lord will take care of us in our night flight to Egypt, but we have to get up and get going.
Lord, help us, especially as fathers and grandfathers, not to be passive when you clearly expose lies and destructive schemes that could harm our families. Help us learn that there is a time to flee and get out of the way of an angry grizzly.
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