Matthew 2:12-15. “And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt Have I called My Son.”
Did the Magi realize that Herod was an evil man, and that they should not trust him? We aren’t told so. Whether or not they would have returned to Herod, if left on their own, we can’t guess. What we do know is that they showed their great wisdom when they obeyed the voice God in a dream, and used a different route to return home.
Have you wondered if they all had the same dream? Did God speak to each of them separately, and did they discuss it in the morning as the camels were being loaded for the return journey? Was there hesitation in any of them, feeling they should honor Herod’s request? Would you and I have analyzed those dreams, dissected them, and decided it was just a coincidence?
Apparently they were in complete accord, because they didn’t go back through Jerusalem. They didn’t report the whereabouts of the Child to the illegitimate king. They circumvented him and quietly returned to their own land.
In obedience, there was great wisdom.
Joseph had a dream, too. He must have been getting used to that by this time. The angel of the Lord came to him again and instructed him to run away to Egypt because Herod was looking for blood. Apparently, Joseph didn’t hesitate. He packed up his little family and left in the dark, heading for Egypt as he’d been instructed. It wasn’t the first time a Hebrew had gone to Egypt to escape murder, was it? The story of Joseph in the Old Testament is one of the most complete types of the life of Christ in the Bible. There are many fascinating parallels.
The prophecy mentioned in the last line of verse 15 is from Hosea 11:1, by the way. The prophecy is clearly concerning Israel, but as with many Old Testament prophecies, there is more than one meaning. Hosea spoke these words about 700 years before the birth of Christ and His flight into Egypt. In Exodus 4:22 we read that Israel is God’s first born Son; in Jeremiah 31:9 we read, “I am a Father to Israel and Ephraim is my first born.” Christ and Israel are closely identified in the prophetic Word. In Isaiah, we learn that Messiah is called the Servant of the Lord, and Israel is called by the same name. It is through His obedient suffering and death that Israel becomes at last the righteous servant of Jehovah during the end times. Israel disappears, it would seem, during the Age of Grace; the time is coming, and may it be soon, when Israel once again will become prominent as God’s chosen people.
Jesus’ life is a picture of Israel’s history. Israel went to Egypt, the house of bondage; Jesus went to Egypt to escape Herod. Egypt was not a friendly place for Israel; in Jesus’ time, it was no different. Jews were persona non grata. Israel was called out of Egypt to travel the wilderness to be tested and tried; Jesus goes through His own wilderness to be tested and tried, but He went through it all without sin, far different from Israel.
There is victory in Jesus!
2 thoughts on “The Wisdom of the Wise Men and Joseph”
Yet, today, I do think we have yielded people who carry out the plan of God on our behalf. The news would make Christians think otherwise, but I just don’t believe it. I am finding Messianic Jews on wordpress! What hope must cultivate their hearts–it is very encouraging, even outstanding to me. It gives me hope. To those who do not place any trust in the Word of God the events in Scripture are but myths. It is very sad and a sad day lies ahead of them. In contrast to the hope we carry–wow!
Couldn’t agree more, Karyl. God will not forsake His chosen people. There’s going to be a day of restoration that will never, ever be broken.