Still in Flight (Lent 33-2014)

Matthew 2:11 On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

SGL 33 2014 Running for our lives Joseph Mary and JesusThe boy Jesus, around 2 years old now, is presented with gifts from the Magi.  Gold, incense, and myrrh—not your typical baby presents–would come in very handy as going-away-gifts.


Gold, incense, and myrrh would have value no matter where they went and that’s a good thing because Joseph and Mary and Jesus were soon to be running for their lives.


Matthew 2:13 When [the Magi] 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.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When we’re afraid, it’s hard to be still.  We want to scramble and be ready as the fight-or-flight response of adrenaline kicks in.  But God revealed His next steps for Joseph through a dream.  Joseph and Mary and Jesus were to go to Egypt.  Fight was not an option.  Flight was God’s design.

Matthew 2:19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

One hardly ever hears sermons about the importance of Joseph’s clarity in perceiving revelatory dreams or his obedience to them, but Joseph doesn’t need to be treated as the third wheel in the early childhood of Christ Jesus.  Joseph was a righteous and obedient man.  He was Still in Flight.

Joseph was still.  Scripture doesn’t say he pondered the dreams for a week or two before acting.  It doesn’t say he discussed them with Mary and asked her what she thought of that as if his dreams were no different than dreaming your boss is the Cheshire cat, your desk is a swimming pool, and your office is Planet of the Apes.  Oh, and you’re wearing a chicken suit.  Nope.  Joseph immediately caught on that this is how God communicates with him.  He was still, even in flight.

Dream the command about going to Egypt.  Get up and do it.  Dream the command about coming home.  Get up and do it.  Still in Flight.  Still in Flight home.  Still smart in the flight home because Joseph discerned that Archelaus might be a problem and Joseph was afraid to go there.  Another dream.  Get up and go to Nazareth.

Joseph was the head of his household, protecting his wife Mary and the young boy Jesus.  Joseph discerned carefully.  And he obeyed God as a righteous man would do.

No second guessing.  No foot dragging.  No indecision.  Dream it.  Do it.  Be Still in Flight.

Be Still.  I know where I AM taking you and the reasons I AM taking you where I AM taking you.

Be Still.  Just listen and obey and I will protect you from both indecision and regret.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  Isaiah 42:16 “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  Jeremiah 31: 8 “See, I will bring [the remnant of Israel] from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. 9 They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.”

Questions for reflection:

  1. Have you ever been afraid for your life or the lives of those in your care?  How does it feel?
  2. How do you know what to do when the fight-or-flight adrenaline response comes?
  3. To what degree can instinct be trained by spending time with God and practicing obedience to Him in the mundane?
  4. Do you trust God to watch over you?  Offer a prayer of thanksgiving if the answer is “Yes.”  Ask for His help to trust Him more, if your answer was “Not enough.”

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on April 11, 2014

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