6.  Escape to Egypt

Starting a Journey with Jesus, Day 6  (Matthew 2:13-18)

When [the Magi] had gone, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  “Get up and take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you. 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 departed for Egypt.  He stayed there until the death of Herod, and this fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the Magi, he was enraged and gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and the villages around it who were two years old and under, in line with the time he had learned from the Magi.  Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”  (Matthew 2:13-18)

When traveling how do you stay on track?  How do you avoid danger?  Prayer and communication with God is the best way I know to do both. 

An angel has already appeared to Joseph and kept him off the common road and on the right path (check Matt 1:20 again).  Now a second time an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, showing him how to escape danger by fleeing far to the south into Egypt.  Herod would not be able to harm the baby.

Herod had told the Magi he wanted to worship the child they sought, but in truth he wanted to kill him.  History tells us that Herod in fact did kill members of his own family that he suspected of plotting against him.  His true motives are revealed by the angel.

In his heart was hidden a fury about to be unleashed on innocent babies around Bethlehem.  So Joseph, Mary and Jesus escaped to Egypt.  Two prophesies found fulfillment in these events: “Out of Egypt” and “Rachel’s weeping.”

Kings, like all people, are free to set their hearts on doing good or doing harm.  God purposed to do good and informed Joseph what to do.  Joseph chose to listen and submit.  This is royal and noble behavior.  Herod set his heart on murder and ruthless suppression, bringing grievous pain and great suffering.

Prayer:  God, you protected and took care of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  They had to listen, trust and obey by fleeing to Egypt where you kept them safe. 

Help me also to listen, to go where You show me and to trust in Your wisdom.  Keep me safe from the fury and violence of those set on their plans, who fly in the face of what You desire, who kill blindly to hold on to power. 

Immanuel — God, be with me.  Protect me and my family.  Help us walk in Your ways.  Amen.