December 27, 3rd Day of Christmas FLIGHT TO EGYPT
Scripture: Hosea 11:1 & Matthew 2:13-15
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.”
13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”
The mysterious ways of God are certainly evident in these passages. Put yourself in the position of Mary or Joseph. Play it through in your mind; You have become a parent to a baby both you and your spouse believe to be the Son of God. You both have had encounters with an angel on separate occasions. Only a couple of people believe your story about the “virgin birth.” And now, while you are still in Bethlehem, Joseph has another dream in the middle of the night, a dream so vivid and urgent that he wakes up Mary with the news “we need to leave for Egypt right now.” And while it is still in the middle of the night, they hurriedly leave Bethlehem.
It almost sounds like someone has an overactive imagination! Yet notice again and again throughout the Old Testament how a “type,” a shadow is fulfilled in the New Testament. While it is doubtful that Hosea was thinking he was writing prophecy at this point, the text was not lost on Matthew who was writing to convince the Jews that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. The above Hosea pericope refers specifically to the massive Exodus of Israel from Egypt. God, in this case, refers to Israel as his son. Israel was redeemed from the bondage and slavery to the Egyptians. Moses was called out of Egypt to lead God’s people to freedom. The blood of the lambs covered the Israelites saving them as the death angel passed over their homes. God saved them from an earthly death temporarily. The call was to leave Egypt for the destination of the Promised Land.
In the same way God called his Son, Jesus, out of Egypt to lead all his children to freedom from the bondage of sin and into an eternal life. I’m guessing Joseph wasn’t thinking about the Hosea passage after his angel dream! He just knew they had to leave pronto. Have you noticed how the unfolding of daily events coincide with God’s overall plan of redemption? It is very clear that the devil was trying to thwart God’s purpose by killing his Son. The angels of heaven protected Jesus here and later in his life.
Tough things can happen to God’s children, but they will never derail his overall plan. I’m sure Mary and Joseph wondered about the uniqueness of their situation wondering what was next, but they obeyed and walked in the path before them and, as a result, fulfilled all that was said in the Scriptures. Your path today may not be as exciting or it may be very challenging, but just walk in it. Who knows where it may lead? Rest assured, he does.
Music: “The Coventry Carol” Assyrian Group dedicated to children who have suffered in Middle Eastern war.
Bless all who worship You, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same. Of your goodness, give us; with Your love, inspire us; by Your Spirit guide us; by Your power, protect us; in Your mercy receive us now and always. Amen. –5th century An Ancient Collect
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