Matthew 2:12-13 “And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.  Now when they had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, ‘Arise, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to destroy Him.’”

Observation: Matthew 2 presents enough beauty and intrigue to satisfy the most demanding reader. Magi were guided over vast distances by a star to adore the child Jesus. Since the evil Herod knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but couldn’t find the precise location, he told the Magi to report Jesus’s location to Him on their return. But once they had worshiped the child, God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod, so they took another route home. Joseph, too, had a dream in which an angel warned him to flee to Egypt at once with Mary and Jesus because Herod intended to kill the child. They left that night and remained in Egypt through Herod’s massacre of all male children in the Bethlehem region who were two years old or younger. After Herod’s death, an angel appeared in yet another dream to tell Joseph he could take his family back to Israel.

Application: Does anyone notice a pattern of unusual communication here? God used a star to provide such precision guidance that the specific house where Jesus lived was identified. Yet an intensely interested king in Jerusalem just a few miles away couldn’t intercept the message. Then He used dreams populated by angels to give such precise instruction that the Magi and Joseph (on two occasions) altered their lives immediately.

Set aside for now the fascinating illustration of what can come when our hearts and minds are so focused on God that we pick up on His extraterrestrial guidance. For a moment, consider just how intent God was on protecting Jesus from the forces of evil. The child would be found and worshiped by those who would understand the signs of the times. He would be sheltered from harm by a spiritually attuned father who leaped to instant obedience. Do I believe God is as equally determined to protect me from harm?  “No, Jesus was special.” Indeed He was. But so am I. I need to bask for a while in the first few verses of Ephesians 1, where eleven times we who believe are said to be “in Him”—secure in Him, blessed in Him, chosen in Him, sealed in Him, redeemed in Him, adopted through Him. He even tells me where to run and hide: in Him.

Prayer:  Father, Your refuge is so secure. It isn’t inside a hollow mountain or behind a barrage of missile defenses; it is in Him. Oh that You would find me there, moment by moment. How I love You!