A devotional for men, featuring the New Living Translation
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Tuesday August 29th, 2017
After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said.
Matthew 2:13, NLT
A small incident in the Christmas story usually overlooked and seldom portrayed in church pageants looms large in the salvation narrative. Occurring immediately after what often is presented as the climax of the story—the visit of the Magi—Joseph has another nighttime encounter with an angel. This time, God’s messenger tells him to flee with his family to Egypt.

They had just entertained Eastern celebrities bearing fabulous gifts for their child-king. Now, abruptly, they are to run for their lives. Their destination? Egypt.

The phrase “out of Egypt” appears in nearly 150 biblical texts. This ancient enemy symbolized oppression and slavery, and often God’s people would recall that the Lord had freed them and delivered them from that place. Yet God says, “Go to Egypt.” Even to our distant ears that sounds like “Out of the frying pan and into the fire!”

What was Joseph thinking and feeling? His first encounter with an angel confirmed his role in the “virgin” birth. Then, the baby, born in a stable, was visited by divinely directed shepherds and kings. And now, this!

We don’t know Joseph’s thoughts, but we do know his actions. He obeyed. And Jesus escaped Herod’s murderous wrath. And we celebrate Christmas. From our vantage point, we can see the huge implications of each of Joseph’s decisions. From his, they were difficult day-by-day decisions. They were in fact very much like the decisions we are called on to make each day.

“But,” we protest, “we’d obey too if we knew God was talking!” Really? He speaks to us daily, but do we listen?

Unlike Joseph, we have God’s written Word, filled with direction and instruction. May we, with Joseph-like faith, obey and get moving. And let’s not forget to take our families with us!
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