- Renée Coventry
Joseph Fled, Day 16
Reading: Matthew 2:13-23
I know we're rereading a few verses, but I want us to look at what Joseph did at the prompting of the Spirit of God. He fled. It doesn't sound very spiritual or look like the actions of a man trusting the Lord, yet God specifically directs Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus. Sometimes obedience can appear cowardly; however, because Joseph knew to heed what the Lord was telling him, he obeyed, and out of all of the children Jesus’ age in the Bethlehem area, He alone was the sole survivor of Herod’s madness.
It couldn’t have been easy fleeing to Egypt. It was an entirely different country with its own culture and pagan faith. It was the epitome of the word “gentile,” meaning without God. It sounds like a strange and brilliant strategy – hiding the Son of God in the very place from which the Lord had called His people out. Imagine how God trusted Joseph to establish a household of faith amid exile in a godless culture. Yes, it was a fulfillment of prophecy from Hosea 11:1, but it is also a prophetic look at what the Lord does for everyone who comes to Him. He calls us out of darkness into the glorious light of kingdom community.
Just as Jesus was called out to return to the land given by the Father to Israel, we are called to return. Egypt was never to be a permanent dwelling place for God's people. It was temporary for the first four hundred years, it was temporary when Jesus dwelt there as a small child, and it is temporary for us. Christ reminds us of this in John 15:19, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."
I encourage you this holiday season to remember that there will be a great calling out someday soon. Will you be ready? Are you establishing, as Joseph did, a household of faith that is blameless and innocent, "above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life" so that you will not have journeyed in vain? (Phil. 2:15-16). Egypt is not a place to fear but a place in which we, as God's children, have the opportunity to shine and thrive with the great privilege of inviting others into the community of God. So, as you celebrate the Savior's birth this holiday season, will you give the gift of Him to a lost world?