READ: Matthew 2:1-12; Matthew 2:13-23; Luke 2:39
God provides for His son. Sometime after Jesus was born in Bethlehem Magi come to visit Him. The time is set as during the time King Herod is alive, so this would be sometime before 4 BCE when Herod the Great is known to have died. After a side trip to the palace in Jerusalem the Magi find the infant at home in Bethlehem. They worship Him and leave gifts to honor Him and then, after being warned in a dream, they head home via a different route to avoid confrontation with Herod.
Dreams are one of the provisions God utilizes to protect His son. Joseph’s sleep is filled with warnings and direction that afford protection for Jesus. The Magi’s dreams protect both them and the baby. There is obvious certainty to these dreams – these are clearly from God and clearly meant to be obeyed. One of the nighttime missives causes Joseph to take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt in the dead of night. Refugees running before the cruel intentions of a wicked despot bent on destroying their son. I wonder did the gifts the Magi brought to the child provide needed funding for this quick flight? Were those gifts provision for protection?
After Herod dies, the couple and child are given freedom to return to Israel. But they don’t return to Jerusalem or Bethlehem in Judea, rather God directs them to make home as far north as possible in the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Herod’s son Archelaus is as bad or worse than his father before him.
I can’t help but think of the plight of refugees today. What a lonely, desperate, fearful thing to leave a land called home in fear for one’s life and the life of your family. How sad to realize the place you’ve left is no place to which you can return, but rather you must hope and pray you can find a new place to call home … a new place to belong. Throughout history God’s people have often been aliens dwelling in a strange land. It gives me hope for the displaced when I realize that God knows what it is to be displaced. God knows the feelings, needs, and struggles of the refugee and God is “…close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. May I and my tribe be part of the provision and protection God offers to those in flight for their lives before the evil of our world.
Lord, my heart beats faster as I think of this very young family stumbling through the night racing for their lives to the safety of Egypt. They ran from their own who claimed them not to a people strange to them. And through this strange people You nurtured Your Son until He could safely return home. Lord, give me Your heart of care and provision for the refugees among us. And Lord I hear stories that You are meeting many of them in dreams and visions! I praise You for this and ask that You continue to make Yourself known both supernaturally in dreams and supernaturally in Your people.