God knew Herod and what he was capable of doing to His Son. “When they (the Magi) 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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.” Matthew 2:13-15a God let Joseph and Mary know the imminent danger that Herod posed, and they listened and quickly obeyed. Herod was a vicious, ruthless ruler. Matthew 2:16 describes his angry vindictive actions. “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.” Mary and Joseph stayed in Egypt until the Lord brought them out and settled them in Nazareth. “After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead. So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.” Matthew 2:19-23a
The flight to Egypt, return to Israel and settling in Nazareth were all prophesied in the Old Testament and Matthew added them into the story. (Matthew 2:15b, 18, 23b) Thinking of all the hundreds of years that passed before they came to pass exactly as God said they would show God’s sovereignty and omniscience as He guides Mary and Joseph with His Son from danger to safety. An angel physically appeared to Joseph two times and in a dream once guiding them away from those that would seek to kill them. I can only imagine the relief that Mary and Joseph felt upon finally arriving in Nazareth. They would have stories of protection, hope and awe to share with Jesus as he grew up. I love the conclusion Luke adds in Luke 2:40 “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”
Throughout the month of December we have seen Mary and Joseph’s obedience and love for God. We have witnessed their response to situations beyond their control. We have seen those around them supporting and encouraging them as they walked with God. We have seen those who would do them and their baby harm, and how God intervened to protect them. There is a lesson for us in this story today. God knows the future and He has a plan for you and me. I cling to Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God wants what is best for us just as He wanted what was best for His Son. He is a loving, omniscient God who desires to care for us. Our part- believe and trust – then He will execute His plan and bring it to completion. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
I’m trusting and believing God for His plan in my life. What about you? Prayerfully consider all that God has done and will do as you answer this all important question.