After the wise men were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.” Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”
Joseph was likely thinking now that Jesus had been born, things in his family life would settle down for a while. They would have Jesus named on the way home, Mary would spend her time recovering and they would begin their new life together. It is possible Joseph may have rented a place in Jerusalem and found some work as a carpenter while Mary finished her purification period after giving birth, as traveling too far with a newborn was not the best idea for everyone’s sanity.
So we pick up the story Joseph may have believed finished and discover Joseph to be the feature again.
We know that Herod flew into a rage when he realized the wise men were not coming back to betray the new born King, but there is no sign that Joseph or Mary knew of the danger until the angel appears to Joseph again.
Humble, faithful Joseph has now seen an angel twice in his dreams.
Both times, he is informed of news no one else knew by the angel.
Interesting to note, he clearly recognized the angel in his dreams, and believed the words spoken enough to life alteringly act upon them.
The first time, Joseph was told Mary was carrying Messiah & to marry her, raising the child as his own.
This time? He is told to wake up, take Mary & the child and flee to Egypt, for Herod wants to kill Jesus.
I am guessing this was an early enough warning timing wise to get them to safety before Herod’s horrible plan began.
I know that the gifts Jesus had been given by the wise men were no accident, as all three were hot commodities to trade with, and would likely have been enough to cover all their expenses while in Egypt. Because God would certainly have provided for Jesus again. Note it mentions that this would be a fulfillment of calling His son out of Egypt in verse 15.
As Egypt was not likely on the best of terms with Israel over the whole escape from slavery issue, Joseph may not have been able to get work there as an immigrant.
God would have taken all of this into account to get the Carpenters ready for their sudden trip & extended stay in Egypt.
The other noteworthy point to observe? Joseph immediately woke up and while it was still dark, had the family well under way to Egypt by daylight.
Simply put, his obedience saved Jesus.
Not sure about you, but I would have been more than a little freaked at a second angelic visit while I was sleeping. I wonder if it took Joseph just that bit longer every night for a while to fall asleep. Tentatively wondering if an angel would speak to him yet again.
So how does this impact us, the readers of the Advent story?
I see three clear ways.
1. When God sends an angel to speak to us, we should do what it says.
2. God can speak to us while we are sleeping, not just while we are awake!
3. Some times its the right time to just pick up and go.
We leave today’s continuation of #AdventuresinAdvent with the Carpenters fleeing to Egypt, as Herod’s horror is unleashed on the families of Israel.
Image from: http://jlgragg.org/2011/01/05/beyond-the-season-celebrating-christ-after-christmas/nativity-2/