"So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod." (Matt 2:14-15)
have you ever spent much time contemplating the story of the Magi? Oh, there are so many lessons could be preached about with this wondrous story. But if this mini-sermon were long enough to comprise all of this, it won't be a "mini"-sermon, and you'd probably get tired of reading it! But as I contemplate the story of the Magi this Christmas season, something new and different jumps out at me, something I have missed before, something I must share with you:
"And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 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.'" (Matt 2:12-13)
The Wisemen had inadvertently brought trouble to Baby Jesus! It was the last thing they ever intended to do, perhaps, but it happened, nonetheless! Of course it was a fulfillment of prophecy, but the Magi would never have dreamed that this prophecy would be fulfilled through them! And as a result, the little boy Jesus is no longer safe in His own country: "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." (John 1:11-12)! This scripture was already fulfilled while Jesus was but a tiny child!
Notice now where Joseph was instructed to take the child and His mother: "escape to Egypt"! Why Egypt? Why not some remote part of Israel? Why not hide out in the mountains? Come on! We have to keep the child in His own land! What about the evil influences of Egypt? We certainly wouldn't want the Savior of the world brought up around such evils, would we? After all, doesn't the Bible seriously rebuke the Israelites for trusting in Egypt rather than in the Lord (Isaiah 30:2)? Doesn't the prophet Isaiah seriously rebuke Egypt for their wickedness? (Isaiah 19,20, to name a few!)
But no. The Angel was clear: "escape to Egypt"! Leave your homeland, leave the land of your forefathers. Leave the land chosen specially by the Lord your God, leave the synagogues and the teachings of the priests and rabbis, and take the child -- to Egypt! How hard this must have been for Joseph. But he did it.
Now let's stop for a moment and try to imagine what might have happened if Joseph hadn't obeyed. What if he had waited for another warning? What if he had chalked it all up to "imagination", for surely God wouldn't want His own Son raised in Egypt! The results would have been disastrous, not only for the child, but for all mankind! Think about it.
But here is something else to think about. How would you and I have reacted to this call? What if God were calling you and your family out of your land? What if God were calling you and your family out of your church? What if God were warning you to not listen to your pastors? What if God were telling you to take your family out of the home church you grew up in? What would you do? Would you, like Joseph, get up immediately, take the child and His mother and leave for Egypt? Or would you wait for another warning? Would you have chalked it up to "imagination" and refused to study it out on your own? Would you reason that where you were being told to go to was an evil place, definitely not the place to be growing in the Lord, therefore it can't be of the Lord!
Twice in Bible prophecy we are given similar warnings: "Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD." (Jer 51:45) And 'Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues"' (Rev. 18:4).
Why are we warned to "come out of her"? "So that [we] will not receive any of her plagues"! "Run from the fierce anger of the Lord"! We are warned to "Come out of her" for the same reason Joseph was warned to leave Israel for Egypt: To save our lives!
My friends, never ignore the call to "Come out of her"! It doesn't matter what you are to flee from, if God tells you to leave something or somewhere, do it! Do it even if you can't logically see His reasoning. Do it even if it goes against everything you've ever been taught. Do it so that your lives will be preserved!
Dear Lord, You are calling Your people to "Come out of her"! Lord, open my ears that I may hear Your call. Give me faith that I may obey -- without hesitation -- so that my life and the life of my family, along with Your Holy will, will be preserved! Lord, give me the strength to "Come out of her" when you call, even if it seems to me that you are calling me out of what I think is good, into what I consider evil. Give me the faith to trust You to know what is right for me and my family. If the call is of You, do not let me hesitate! May I respond as Joseph did: May I get up, take my family, and flee!