Swift Obedience

December 7, 2022

Matthew 2:13 NIV

When they 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.”

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:13-18

Devo Author: Beth Kenyon

Date: December 7, 2022

I love a good story, one which compels me to read more or focus intently. A good title is even better. What title would you give the story in today’s passage? “Back to the Past,” “Man on the Run,” “The Sword of the Narcissist”...?

When I hear a new story or watch a new movie, I love to ask my husband, “Who does that person look like?'' or “What does this remind you of...” (Tim hates to play this game!). Rereading this story reminds me of the Old Testament story of Moses. Both compel the reader to find out more, both have irony, both have baby boys being hidden for safety. In one, people run FROM Egypt, in this one, they flee TO Egypt. Tragically, in both stories young baby boys were cruelly murdered.

Yet the compelling sentence is… 
 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother,  and they stayed there until Herod’s death. (Matthew 2:14-15 NIV)

An angel spoke and without hesitation Joseph obeyed. Joseph’s swift obedience marvels me! There is NO evidence of bargaining, whining, hesitating, or complaining. Parents, that’ll preach! When our children were young, Tim and I worked hard to teach our children to obey immediately, without complaint. This was a struggle! I cannot count how often I struggle, too, complaining when I don’t understand, begging to understand, pleading with God to give me courage before I obey.

Wouldn’t it have been interesting for Matthew to record the conversations between Mary and Joseph as they walked 150 miles with a small child? Mary complaining, “Jo, what are we doing? This can’t be what the angel said!” Joseph second guessing himself, “What if I’m wrong? God can’t be asking me to RETURN TO EGYPT!” And perhaps, other words unable to be written!

If we are honest, each of us have similar conversations with God. He often asks us to do things which don’t make earthly sense. Maybe asking you to take a pay cut to spend more time with your family. Or moving your family across the world to share the Gospel. Or loving a neighbor or co-worker who is HARD! Or giving money when you don’t think you can spare it. Even harder, sitting by a spouse or child, watching them suffer. What would have happened if Joseph hadn’t obeyed or if he had hesitated a couple of days?

Joseph showed us we CAN trust God. It is amazing how he follows God even though it was risky and uncomfortable. God shows us again, we can fully trust His plan. In this season, I am attempting to obey Him quickly and with less complaining. How about you? Are you struggling to obey? Is He asking you to do something hard? Or follow Him into an unknown place?

Today, I am praying over you the words God has spoken to His children for thousands of years: "Be Strong, take courage, I will lead you and walk with you every single moment of every day!"