DIRECTING THE JUST
Matt. 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
We know that Joseph was a just man because the scriptures state that he was. But we also know this, because he had the character of a just man! For the scriptures also tell us that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, for the just shall live by faith! (Rom. 1:17). But this is not only the manner of life for this one man. It is also the pattern of every truly born again believer! 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Flee Into Egypt
Matt. 2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
The next issue of faith for this just man had to be quite a shock for his mind! Verse thirteen states that it did not come until the wise men and their caravan departed from the little town of Bethlehem. Knowing how the great city of Jerusalem “was troubled” at their presence, you can imagine what a stir these foreign dignities caused with their priceless gifts, and their proclaimed assurance of this child being “the King of the Jews,” in little Bethlehem! Surely Joseph, being a normal human being, enjoyed the attention and the rich gifts! And surely he thought he could get used to this!
BUT! – as soon as the glorious caravan of worshippers had left town, and all the neighbors quit pressing to see into his windows and doors, that very night Joseph heard the word, “Flee!” That had to be a shock to his attitude! Could this be right? Wasn’t this the God-man in his wife’s arms? Surely God shouldn’t have to run from anyone!
But all those with whom God invests his Son into their lives, have to get over the initial excitement of the supernatural birth and immediately learn to live IN this world, even though they are not OF this world! And they soon learn, ofttimes with a rude awakening, that God’s plan is not always “deliverance,” but more likely to be that of “endurance!” John 12:27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
At the outset of Elisha’s ministry he was “parted asunder” from his earthly master, Elijah! (2 Kings 2:11-14). In his own heart he probably would have been pleased to have things continue as they were, just like Joseph would have, with the wise men present in Bethlehem! Then, there he was, on the wrong side of the Jordan River! Now he has to face God alone as his Master! The mediation has ceased. He has the mantle of Elijah, but it would be of no good for him without his own personal faith! He then smites the waters and asks, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” By his own faith and obedience he passes into the realm of walking with God!
Isaiah had been greatly influenced by the great king Uzziah. And under that influence he could only see others sin! For some six times it is recorded that he proclaimed, “Woe unto them!” (Isa. 5:8,11,18,20,21,22). But immediately upon the Lord’s removing Uzziah by death, he begins to cry, “Woe is me!” (Isa. 6:5). Now he has to face God, life, and God’s purposes in a consciousness of God alone! How soon the ‘blessings’ fade into the background and the reality of the Most Blessed weighs heavily upon the heart and mind!
Outside the Camp
“Flee into Egypt!” But was that not the wrong direction? All Israel knew that phrase should read, “out of the land of Egypt!” (Acts 7:40, Heb 8:9). The entire nation had been brought up out of the iron furnace, out of the land of bondage. But that’s not what the Lord God told Joseph! All those who have the Lord to entrust them with the care of His Son in their lives must learn to come outside the camp of religious practice and traditions! They must learn to obey and walk with God, for the protection and nourishing of that holy thing that has been supernaturally birthed unto them! Heb. 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
In verse fourteen, listed above, we read that Joseph, the just man, arose and departed into Egypt “by night!” If God, to whom the light and darkness are the same, (Psa. 139:12), could give instruction in a dream by night, surely He could be a light unto Joseph’s path to follow Him in that same dark night!
But how came Joseph to be able to flee into Egypt that same night? Husbands and Dads have a lot of gathering up, and packing to do with a wife and child when a move is to be made! But the IRS had already taken care of that! He was not in his home! He was not in his home town! He was already ‘living out of a suitcase,’ as they were already on a journey, caused by the tax laws of Roman! (Luke 2:1). God had already stripped this little family of their household belongings and put them on the road by His servant, the civil magistrate! (Romans 13:1,2).
Of course many in our day who say they believe in the sovereignty of God, really just mean that they believe in a kind of “Selective Sovereignty!” They make great issue of some social issues, fighting against them, “in the name of the Lord!” But in this case the Lord had used Caesar to cause the prophesy of his Son’s birth location to be fulfilled! He was to be born, not in Nazareth, but in Bethlehem! (Micah 5:2). And he used an ungodly world ruler to get him there!
So all Joseph had to do was to close the door behind him as he left! Remember Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:32). Don’t get so encumbered with this world’s goods that you cannot immediately respond to God’s instruction to “flee!”
Many Americans lost a great deal of financial stability this past year. But shouldn’t Christian Americans say, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD? (Job 1:21). Of course, we shouldn’t expect that from those with only a belief of “Selective Sovereignty!” Only of those who believe in Absolute Sovereignty, can it be said that they, took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. (Heb. 10:34). God have mercy on deceived church members!
“And Was There Until”
Verse fifteen of this chapter states that Joseph settled down in Egypt until the Lord sent him word to return. Herod had to fulfil his times before appointed. (Acts 17:26).
But how could God be pleased with any Israelite, being away from the only place where God accepted worship? And how could God be pleased with the guardians of his infant Humanity not being under the Priesthood, offering acceptable sacrifices?
Remember Abraham’s words to Isaac who asked where the sacrifice was? He replied, “God will provide HIMSELF a lamb…” (Gen. 22:8). Joseph had the temple of God with him! John 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
But what about a proper sacrifice? John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. – And the priesthood? Heb. 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Pastor Gene Breed