God Warns the Magi and Joseph
And being warned of God in a dream that they [the Magi] should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they [the Magi] 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. (Matthew 2:12-13)
IN A DREAM. God warned the Magi in a dream not to go back to Herod who had pretended he wanted to worship the child king born to Mary. The baby from Heaven is now residing somewhere in Bethlehem, as the Prophet Micah had said (Micah 5:2). God is the great communicator and when it serves His purpose, He communicates through dreams.
Today’s main communication from God is His written word and the active leading of the Holy Spirit who dwells within the body of every true believer of Christ. But if God wants to lead someone through a dream today, who is going to tell Him that He cannot do that? Not me.
So, the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him to take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt and stay there until He tells them different. We notice that immediately after the words “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (v.11), the next words are “and being warned of God in a dream.” All the commentators have practically nothing to say about this sudden change of words or about the warnings coming in a dream.
Dreams in general are of great interest to Bible students and writers. I counted at least 21 times where dreams appeared in the Bible text. Joseph, the son of Jacob, was known as “the dreamer.” We all know what dreams are and today’s experts have spent a lot of time researching dreams and still don’t know much about them. It is sufficient to know that God does as He pleases and gives an answer to no one if He doesn’t want to.
In our day some people have saved their lives by being troubled by dreams. I once saw a captured film clip of NAZI Germany’s Adolf Hitler pacing the floor back and forth with his hands behind him. He had had a troubling dream the night before and because of it, he delayed his decision about production of their new weapon: The Buzz Bombs; the forerunner of jet fighters. Because of the dream, Hitler delayed several months, according to the narrator of the film.
I DO NOT TRY TO RUN MY LIFE BY DREAMS. But, if a dream is strong, it’s probably a good idea to give it some thought and to ask the Holy Spirit about it. The Lord certainly warns and leads His children today by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit has a variety of means by which He can communicate with us.
Most often His leading comes to us when a verse of Scripture jumps off the page and arrests our attention. We should pay attention to the “heavier than usual” attraction we have to a Bible verse or Bible phrase within a verse. He also may use a dream or a circumstance or the words of a child or some similar device that will strike hard. Watch the unusual things that occur, day, or night. God is in the business of leading His children.
The Lord spoke to Balaam through the mouth of a donkey and to Peter through a rooster. Let’s be careful about putting God in a box and telling Him what He can and cannot do. We’re little people and He is a big God who does what seems best to Him. I can tell you this much: if God is speaking to you about something, it will be clear enough for you to understand your duty.
The fact that God spoke to the Magi in a dream and they immediately obeyed, gives us a clue as to how close these men were to the Lord and how pliable their hearts were to obey Him. We don’t know how the Lord told them to follow a star to the child Jesus, but we do know how the Lord told them not to go back to Herod.
We notice that the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream “saying.” It wasn’t fog! It was substance. It was substantial. It was sufficient. “Get up and go to Egypt and stay there ‘till I tell you otherwise…BECAUSE Herod will kill the baby.” Joseph didn’t need to enroll in a Bible class to understand that, so he obeyed and began a long journey of about 150 miles. There was no Cracker Barrel or Days Inn along the way. They went alone, just the three of them on a donkey.
There was a large Jewish population in Egypt at that time, around Alexandria, especially. They would have been inconspicuous there, and welcomed by members of their own race. The Jews would have admired the toddler without knowing they were looking at God. Jesus probably played with other toddlers there and they would never know they had played games with God in the flesh. The gold given to them by the Magi would spend well on the journey and take care of their needs until Herod was dead. This is all part of the Christmas story, but I don’t think Santa Claus and the cash registers get into this part of Christmas.
So, what are you telling your children and your grandchildren about Christmas? The Supreme Court has not closed down Bible reading in our homes. We’ve done that all by ourselves. Don’t you think it’s time we take our Bible reading and study seriously? The New Year is coming up. Why not read your Bible through the coming year? Four chapters a day will do it.
Reading Through the Bible is not suitable for daily devotions with your family. You need Scripture that is shorter and more understandable to the family than lists of names and places and passages that have no immediate meaning. Reading through the Bible is for the individual and should be done in addition to your Bible study of shorter passages.
Family altar can be done in fifteen minutes a day with just a few verses. Don’t kill it! Fifteen minutes a day, including five minutes of prayer. A hymn (2 verses) will fit in nicely. Ω
●This article has been edited and reprinted from Good Morning! December 23, 2007.
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 21, 2017 - THURSDAY
A.M. Micah 6-7 P.M. Revelation 12
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A Good Verse to Memorize:
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13-14)
Song for Today:
God Will Make a Way (5:29) (Janet Paschal and Gaither Group)
Note: I found this song recently. If you have not been through the valley, if you have not been crushed beneath a heavy load, the song may not mean much to you. But if you have been crushed, if you know the meaning of a dark valley, it might be a blessing to you. Listen carefully to the words of the first part to understand what is being said.
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