Daily D – Matthew 2:19-23
Matthew 2:19-23 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 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, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. (NIV)
The most important lesson we can ever learn is how to hear and obey God.
The most important lesson we can ever teach is how to hear and obey God.
These are tripwire statements for many people. Personal responses to these twin truths reflect a person’s understanding and experience of God. For those who believe he is a harsh taskmaster, these statements are threatening and distasteful. A God like that might want me to do something I don’t want to do. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
For those who have experienced and reflected upon God’s grace and love, these statements are inviting and encouraging. A God like this who is motivated and animated by perfect love leaves us nothing at all to fear. Since he provides wherever he guides, I can step off confidently into the special future he has created for me.
The word “obey” is a big problem for some people. There is only one person most people want to obey: themselves. “You can’t make me” is the theme of every television show and movie, so why should our lives differ?
Sometimes different is better. Sometimes it is much better. Sometimes it is much, much better. When is it better? Whenever God asks us to obey.
When we hear God clearly and obey him immediately, we experience the life he intended which is better than anything we could create. Recall how he was the one who created Eden. Eden, where Adam got to name all the animals. Eden, where there were limitless supplies of all the delights God ever created. Eden, where there was no unnecessary pain and where there were limitless possibilities.
Remember how Revelation describes eternal life in the presence of God. Check out chapters 21 and 22. A brief recitation of what is to come is found here:
* God dwells with us forever.
* He wipes away every tear from our eyes.
* There is no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.
* All things are new.
* There is a river of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from God’s throne.
* There is an orchard of trees of life bearing fruit every month.
* We will know God face to face.
Dear friends, why do we have such a hard time hearing and obeying God? Apparently, it is good for us. For example, consider Joseph. Unlike an actor getting his star turn, Joseph never speaks a word recorded in the Christmas story. He lets his behavior do the talking.
Someone noted yesterday on Twitter that our words declare what we think. Our actions declare what we believe. Matthew was right. Joseph was a righteous man (1:19). His actions spoke much louder than words. More importantly, perhaps most importantly, this is true every time we see him.
In 1:18-25, Joseph, who lived a life habitually oriented toward doing the right thing the right way in the right timing for the right reason, immediately did what appears to our eyes the hard right thing. His entire response is summed up in twenty-two words in the NIV’s translation of verse 24.
I wonder how many words it would take to record our next response when we clearly heard God’s clear directions for our lives?
Joseph heard God and obeyed him immediately. Aren’t you glad he did?
Turn to 2:13-15. Again, God clearly spoke. Again, Joseph immediately obeyed.
Again in 2:19-23, God clearly spoke. Again, Joseph immediately obeyed.
His ear attuned to God’s voice and his habitual response of obedience laid the foundation and superstructure of safety and provision for God with Us (1:23).
This heart turned toward heaven and this mind bent toward obedience led to adventure, expedition, wonder, and awe. The next time you are tempted to complain about a boring, meaningless life, hear and obey God.
Thank God for Joseph who shows us the benefits, blessings, and adventure of hearing and obeying God. Go, Thou, and do likewise.
I will hear and obey God.
Our Father, please forgive my fear of saying Yes to you. With all the courage I can muster, with all the commitment I can summon, I give you my Yes from this day forward to whatever you ask or command. I trust you will give me the grace for every moment, the strength for every challenge, and the guidance for every new path. Where do we go from here? Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.