Reading through Matthew 2 today, the story of Jesus birth, the coming of the Magi, and Joseph and Mary running to Egypt for safety. As I’m thinking about the timeline, an interesting point came up. Mary and Joseph are in Bethlehem, we’re not sure how long. It is most likely quite a while since Jesus has been born. The Magi come looking for him, and with Herod’s help, they find Jesus. They show up at the house, offer Him their gifts, and then are warned to leave another way, and they do. In the story, an angel also tells Joseph to leave because they are in danger, which it says Joseph gets up that night and leaves. Herod goes on to kill the boys in that area, but Joseph and family are gone by that point.
So, in the story, Joseph and Mary settle to some degree in Bethlehem, raising their kid. We don’t know if it’s days, weeks, months, or how long they are there. But then the Magi show up, the whole scene goes down, and then God says “Run!” The timing is crazy. God holds them in place just long enough to get the Magi to them, and then shifts the whole story into another gear. He doesn’t send them to safety right away. He could have. As soon as Jesus was born, He could have sent them to Egypt to be sure they were safe. He doesn’t. He holds them there, in danger, so the Magi can come and carry out their part of the plan.
It doesn’t seem like Joseph and Mary knew about the danger they were in. But what if they did? They were at risk, and God was playing pretty loose with their lives. He doesn’t send them packing way before the risk came. The story seems to indicate that God cut it so close that Joseph had to wake up from the dream, and leave right then. God sure did take that one down to the wire. What if Joseph didn’t obey? What if he blew the dream off? What if…..
But God doesn’t work with “what if’s”. He is God, sovereign, in total control, with no worry or anxiety. We worry, not Him. We think He was cutting it close, He saw it as right on time. How many times does He do this in our life? We get all bent out of shape because God isn’t moving fast enough, or He’s moving too fast, or we’re convinced He isn’t moving at all? We stress, worry, fret, and sweat, all while He is proceeding with His plan exactly as He has laid it out. We may be convinced God has missed it, that now it’s too late for anything good to happen, all the while He has the Magi and their incredible gifts right around the corner.
A lot of people think that the gifts the Magi brought helped pay for their trip to Egypt. It would have been expensive, and it’s unlikely Joseph would have had a lot of cash around. God knew. He always does. He covers every detail.
He still does today. Whatever is off schedule in your life, be patient. God is working things out in His time, which is always the right time. We worry, He doesn’t. Which means neither of us need to.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, or what you’re waiting on God for.