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."
Bit by bit the story continues to unfold for Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. Certainly God - Who makes known the end from the beginning - could have given Joseph all of His instructions at once yet, as He most often chooses to do, He here makes His way known gradually – revealing His mind and way in increments – one piece of the puzzle at a time. He does this in order for us to be reminded of His faithfulness in leading and also teaching us to continue to listen for His still small voice - waiting upon His instructions – trusting in His ways as best for our lives. Moses, who continually depended upon the Lord’s leading, stated the following words in Exodus:
13 "In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. Ex 15:13 (NIV)
Our prayers should ever be as King David’s who prayed:
11 Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Psalms 27:11 (NIV)
In all our moves it is good to see God going before us. Waiting upon His leading teaches us a myriad of things not the least of which is patience and obedience. It never comes easy to wait - it is far easier to take matters in our own hands and run ahead. Big mistake – we get ourselves in much trouble when we pursue the devices of our own fleshly imaginations. His ways are always the highest and most beneficial for us. We would do well to remember our God is a “with-us” God – He is with us at all times. He never leaves us alone to face the heartaches and hurts, the frustrations and failures, the confusions and chaos of this dark world. He is One Who delights in our relationship with Him. His works are perfect and He remains ever faithful.
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deut 32:4 (NIV)
“God is good at being faithful!” James Bruce Evans
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lam 3:21-24 (NIV)
God sent Joseph and his young family into Egypt and now God was bringing them out. We can be sure there is always purpose in His plans and leading even when we cannot readily discern them. I find it encouraging that though Joseph was not told everything upfront he willing acquiesced to the Lord’s directions – over and over again setting forth for us a wonderful example of hearing and heeding. King David remained confident of the Lord’s leading him victoriously – we would do well to be likeminded:
13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalms 27:13-14 (NIV)
“We should follow Christ in simplicity and faith, because the paths in which He leads us all end in glory and immortality. It is true they may not be smooth paths – they may be covered with sharp flinty trials, but they lead to the ‘city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.’ ‘All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant.’ Let’s put full trust in our Leader, since we know that, come prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose shall be worked out, and that purpose shall be pure, unmingled good to every heir of mercy...His dear love will make us far more blessed than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world’s fire.” Charles H. Spurgeon