December 23, 2016
“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.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.” Matthew 2:13-14 (NIV)
Have you ever had to move on … when you really wanted to stay put?
Maybe you didn’t want to relocate because of work. Perhaps you dreaded that first appointment with a counselor or fitness coach. You pleaded with the Lord, “Please, don’t make me go there!”
I have felt that way before and I believe Mary, the mother of Jesus, also knew what that was like. In Matthew 2:9-12, we find the Magi visiting Mary’s family. Imagine Mary’s delight and awe to see the Magi worshipping her son.
She didn’t have to worry about necessities because the Magi gave young Jesus treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Maybe Mary wanted to freeze those moments of abundance and goodness. After all, it had been a hard journey to Bethlehem and giving birth in a stable wasn’t exactly comfortable or lavish.
Yet after the Magi had gone, our key verse introduces an angel of the Lord who appears to Joseph in a dream. He instructs Joseph to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt because King Herod was trying to kill Jesus.
Imagine going to bed happily with visions of Magi, gold and treasures, then being shaken in the darkness with the urgent command, “Get up! We must travel now to Egypt. Herod is trying to kill Jesus!”
Another journey … and of all places, to Egypt. Egypt was famous for idolatry, tyranny and enmity toward the people of God. It was the house of bondage for the Israelites — the place where centuries earlier, Hebrew male infants had been sentenced to death.
Don’t you think Mary might have thought, “But Lord, I don’t want to go there. Are You sure about this?”
Notice the Lord spoke to Joseph, not Mary. Mary had to trust that God had spoken to her husband. We don’t know if she said stubbornly, “Well, if we’re supposed to go to that awful place Egypt, the angel better come back and tell me!”
But I doubt that’s what she said. That’s not consistent with Mary’s character and disposition of “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38c, NKJV). The Bible tells us they left that night for Egypt. There was no delay. With every step, Mary declared her faith in God. She knew her position was the “maidservant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38b) not the “master of her own life.”
Would you or I have gone so directly, so obediently?
About six years ago, I attended a small prayer meeting once a week at my church. I loved that prayer time with older, wiser women who taught me how to persevere in prayer. Yet in this peaceful oasis, I felt the Lord nudging me to start another prayer meeting at my home, in my neighborhood instead.
But then I would miss praying with my friends.
But then I would have to lead instead of just participating.
But then I would have to clean my house!
Regardless of my questions, excuses and hesitations, I couldn’t shake the thought. I knew the Lord wanted me to make the change from my beloved fellowship to something new. A few months later, I opened up my home and four moms joined me for the first time to pray together for our children and our neighborhood school.
It’s been wonderful.
Sometimes God calls us away from something good so He can do a new work in a different place.
Whether God calls us far away to Egypt or to our own dining room table, we must trust and go as Mary did. Mary’s days in Egypt fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet Hosea, “… Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matthew 2:15b, NIV). When God calls us to new or different places, He’s fulfilling His purposes through us, too.
Lord, may I go where You call me without delay. Like Mary, I am Your maidservant. May it be to me according to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Jonah 3:3, “Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Ninevah. Now Ninevah was a very large city; it took three days to go through it.” (NIV)
Psalm 119:4-5, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!” (NIV)
Arlene Pellicane’s book 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife will help you become more adaptable when God’s plans take you in a different direction.
Visit Arlene’s blog today to win 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife and to begin 2017 on a more positive, purposeful note.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you have an “Egypt place” or experience where God is calling you obey His leading?
Think of a time in the past when you had to move or do something difficult and it worked out for good. What happened? How did God get the glory through that situation?
© 2016 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 23 December 2016.