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Matthew 2:19-22

Trusting God

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee.


The wages of sin is death! No one is immune from this edict, but we have in these verses the contrast between the lives of those who are obedient to God and those who are disobedient.

The great King Herod, who had caused so much bloodshed to others, was not immune. His death was dramatic. His last days were tumultuous, tormented, and filled with several suicide attempts. Five days before his death he ordered the execution of his own son, Antipater. Upon learning that he was about to die, he had the highest ranking Jewish religious leaders arrested and shut up in the Hippodrome. He left orders for his sister to execute them as soon as she heard of Herod's death. This was done so that the people would not celebrate the tyrant's death, but would be in mourning for their own leaders.

Herod's death was dramatic. Herod's death was ever so final.

On the other hand, Joseph, called to minister to the Christ child, obeyed God and followed His direction. Egypt was the land of bondage. For Joseph and his family it was a hiding place and refuge, but one that they could not leave. God had sent them there, and they were to wait upon His permission to return. We could venture a guess and say that this was not what Joseph wanted to be doing, but it was what God knew was best for him and his family.

Obedience to God means abandoning our own will, but it will always result in His guidance. We must learn to trust explicitly in that guidance. The angel spoke to Joseph twice in these verses. First, to tell him that it was safe to return, and secondly, to answer his fears and his prayer, advising him to go into Galilee. It is highly unlikely that Joseph would have chosen to go to Galilee, if he had been required to map out his own strategy. Phillip, another son of Herod, was the king of Galilee, but God knew his heart. King Phillip was mild mannered and much more liberal than his father.

Matthew Henry wrote that it would be so much easier for us to submit to God's will, if we could only see our present life on earth as an Egyptian style bondage. It is not difficult to understand his sentiment. An Egyptian slave has nothing to lose, if he follows God. This fleshly body has so many limitations, so many desires, and so many weaknesses, all of which keep us from full fellowship with the Father. Once we have responded to His call to come out of Egypt, out of the bondage of sin, and out of the limitations of our own will, our life is hid in Christ. Now we must travel through the wilderness of this life to our Promised Land where we will be safely with God. We should be eager to obey, if we truly believe the gospel.

Before The Throne:

Pray for God's guidance. Abandon your will for His. Pray for the Herod's of this world: it may be the only kindness they will ever receive.

For Further Study:

(v.19)
** Herod. Ps 76:10; Isa 51:12; Dan 8:25; Dan 11:45; ** an. Matt 1:20; Ps 139:7; Jer 30:10; Ezek 11:16;

(v.20) ** arise. Prov 3:5-6; ** for. Exod 4:19; 1Kgs 11:21, 40; 1Kgs 12:1-3;

(v.21)
** Gen 6:22; Heb 11:8;

(v.22) ** he was. Gen 19:17-21; 1Sam 16:2; Acts 9:13-14; ** being. Matt 1:20; Ps 48:14; Ps 73:24; Ps 107:6-7; Ps 121:8; Isa 30:21; Isa 48:17-18; ** into. Matt 3:13; Luke 2:39; John 7:41-42, 52;

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