Today’s reading is Matt 2 and Psalm 76
As I read through Matt 2 this morning I am struck by two things. One, the number of prophecies quoted and fulfilled in these few verses and two, the level of protection that God had to lay over this young couple and their new baby to keep Him alive.
Let’s start with the prophecies. In vs 3-4, King Herod who is jealous of this baby and concerned for his job because of what he has heard about the baby’s future, calls all his best priests and teachers together to ask them some questions. He wants to know where this baby is to be born, and they reply with what a prophet of God wrote over 400 years earlier. Then in vs 17-18, Herod kills all of the baby boys in Bethlehem to try to wipe out the baby and his actions fulfill what God said through Jeremiah 500-600 years earlier. Then at the end of the chapter Joseph is told by an angel to take Mary and the baby back to Israel, which fulfilled a third prophecy which said that Jesus would be called a Nazarene. From this list of prophecies I learn:
1-God Has a plan. I am so easily swayed and discouraged by my circumstances. When I think about and remember that God has a plan and He will complete His plan, it changes the way my circumstances affect me.
2-Nothing is a surprise to God, nothing makes Him think, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming”. Living each day knowing that He knows what is coming my way brings a sense of security and the beautiful reminder that my God knows everything!
3-God is trustworthy and faithful to keep His word every time. If he says it, it will happen!
Next let’s look at and think through the early years of Jesus life and watch how God’s plan unfolds with God’s protection accomplishing every step in the plan. We saw yesterday how God prepared Mary and Joseph (kids) to be Jesus earthly parents. Then we know from Luke that these kids, had to make a trip to be counted for a census. Pregnant and almost due for delivery, these two take off from Nazareth to walk to Bethlehem, around 80 miles. Look, I’ve got to be honest here and say that the fact that Mary actually made this trip pregnant and on foot or better yet, a donkey is almost as big a miracle as her conception! (I am sorry, but I have to mentally put myself in the shoes of Mary and Joseph to actually grasp the meaning of the story.) Then, Jesus is born in a barn. This, in my mind requires a level of protection from God that spans more ground than I have time to cover here. Sometime within the first year of Jesus life, God sends His angel to Joseph in a dream and warns him to take the baby and get out of the country and to stay until God says to return, because the king is trying to kill their baby. What must have been going through their minds at this point? Is it not enough to go through the embarrassment and shame of a pregnancy before marriage, a scary and physically daunting trip and childbirth in a barn? Now they run for their lives because the king/President wants to kill their child. But they trusted that God would be faithful and keep His word and accomplish His plan so they obeyed. Really, when I put myself in their shoes it is amazing to me that they were able to trust and obey. Then when Herod dies, God tells them in a dream that it’s safe to return. God has a plan. Nothing that happens is a surprise to God. God is trustworthy and faithful to keep His word every time. If you need more evidence that this is truth, read through Ps 76 and watch for Asaph’s description of God accomplishing His plan fourteen generations before Jesus birth occurred.