December 30, 2001

Matthew 2:13-23

After the scholars were gone, God's angel showed up again in Joseph's dream and commanded, "Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him."

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod's death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: "I called my son out of Egypt."

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and is surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he'd gotten from the scholars.) That's when Jeremiah's sermon was fulfilled:

     "A sound was heard in Ramah,
          weeping and much lament.
     Rachel weeping for her children,
          Rachel refusing all solace,
     Her children gone,
          dead and buried."

Later, when Herod died, God's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: "Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead."

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mothers, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

<The Message >


1. There is probably a sure-fire connection between control and rage. When we fear for our control, can rage be far behind. Is there anything more threatening to our control than Emmanuel (God with us)? Herod understood this connection. No wonder "Rachel" wept.

2. We have heard how it was that the angels guided Joseph into and out of Egypt. We have all had experiences of being guided through a tough time. I trust this is one of your prayers upon retiring: "Angel, God's angel, guide my dreams for I follow my dream" -- and upon awakening: "Angel, God's angel, help me remember my dreams that I might follow my dream."

3. So some are destroyed by someone else's rage and some are rescued through someone else's dream. Where do you see yourself -- destroyed or rescued? Where do see others who have to deal with you -- destroyed or rescued?

At the turn of the year, as you prepare to make your resolution (your repentance) what will you do about your destruction/rescue ratio?

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