Fears, Circumstances & Providence

After the wicked King Herod died in Matthew 2, an angel told Joseph that he could take Jesus and Mary back to Israel. But it wasn’t that easy. There would be some “complications”: verse 22 tells us that Herod’s son Archelaus was now king over Judea in his father’s place, and as a result, it says Joseph “was afraid to go there.” God used a dream somehow to warn Joseph (:22b) and so he left for Galilee, and the holy family settled in Nazareth.

The instructive thing to us is that this confusing, fearful, “tangle” of circumstances worked together for God’s perfect will to be done. Verse 23 concludes this final segment of Matthew’s narration of Jesus’ early life by saying: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.'” So when all was said and done, with returning from Egypt, Herod’s son being on the throne, Joseph’s fears, the warning from God, the change of plan — when they finally settled down, they were  EXACTLY where God wanted them to be!

This episode should give us comfort in our sometimes “crazy” circumstances too. Our lives at times may resemble that of Jesus’ family in those early years in Matthew 2: a jumble of moves, volatile circumstances, fears, changing plans, and so on.  But yet we can have the confidence that when “all the dust is settled”, God has used all of those things to  direct us, and to accomplish His will for us and our families, just like He did for them. When all the craziness is over, and all is said and done, we will be in just the right place, doing just the right work, and God’s ultimate purposes will be fulfilled in us as well.  It’s good to remember that when you’re in the middle of those “crazy” times!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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