In Matthew 2:19 – 23, we are told Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are returning to Nazareth. Once again Joseph is informed by an angel, in a dream, to take his family back to the land of Israel. He knows that those who want to kill the child are dead: i.e. Herod.
Upon arriving in Israel, Joseph discovers that Archelaus, son of Herod, was King. Afraid of Archelaus and wanting his son to be safe, Joseph decides to go to the district of Galilee and a town called Nazareth.
Now Matthew, once again, tells the reader about the prophecy being fulfilled.
“So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets; “He will be called a Nazarene.”
Matthew knows the readers are probably Jewish, and fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets is the only way they will accept Jesus as the Messiah. So he is very careful to note this in his writings when it occurs.
I have to say the more I read about Joseph, the more I admire him. First he marries a woman who is pregnant with someone else’s child. And he believes God when God tells him that the child is the Messiah. Then Joseph had to take his family to Egypt to keep them safe because God said so. And finally, after living in Egypt for a number of years, God tells Joseph to uproot his whole life and return to Israel.
He did all of this because God told him to do it!
I wonder if today’s Christians would leave their home and family, and go where God tells them? Or would we pass it off as a crazy dream or even run in the opposite direction like Jonah? In today’s world, God is more like a figurine on a shelf. We take Him down and dust Him off when things are not going well in our lives. And when life is great, back on the shelf God goes.
Personally, I have experienced God telling me we were going to live in a new area of the country. And my free will can be very stubborn and selfish at times, so this was a test which I endured and survived. So did my family.
Two years before we moved to Texas, almost four years ago, I knew we were going to be moving to Texas. God made me very aware that this would be our destination on a summer visit to Texas. And I begged and tried to bargain with God, not to make me leave our grandchildren in North Carolina. God listened and His plan for our lives proceeded.
Boy, I was pretty upset and mad. God could have made the plans change. He could have brought about new opportunities in North Carolina for my husband’s work! Texas was too far away from family and it made life more difficult! Did God not understand?
So, for two years, I closed my heart to being in Texas. I became depressed, belligerent overweight, and down right unhappy. My responses to life where like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh. Instead of seeing the possibilities open to us, I saw dark rain clouds. And I spoke negative words about everything!
I did not want to be here! I did not want to be here! I did not want to be here!
I felt lonely, and God seemed far away. Even though He was not; God had stepped back and allowed me to have my temper tantrum filled with a daily pity party. But He was not changing His mind. God was just waiting on me to quit fighting Him.
Finally I did.
You see, God is my daily manna that I feed on, and I found myself starving. The hunger gnawed at my insides and nothing could fill it. Finally, I realized that my life was lost without God and His will for myself and my family’s lives.
No journey is ever complete without forgiveness. God forgave me and He began to reveal the opportunities for my life, even here in Texas. And, I saw the reason my family needed to be here for now. Their futures were blossoming in a place I had once called “hell.” So was mine.
Joseph obeyed God immediately and maybe that is why God chose Joseph to be Jesus’ father here on earth. Knowing Joseph would follow His will for Jesus’ life, even if it meant totally disturbing Joseph and Mary’s lives. Even if they had to move to Texas!
We, Christians today miss out on so many opportunities because we chose to use God as a convenient figurine. Instead of allowing Him to direct us into an unimaginable life filled with promise, peace, and love!
God Bless You!
God Bless America!