Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Obedience and Fear

A Look At Prophecy In The Gospel of Matthew

Afraid and Worried, II

Obedience and Fear


Matthew 2:19-22 NLT

The Return to Nazareth

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee.

    1.     OBEDIENCE

    Twice again Joseph models obedience.  Remember the note from the last post?

                        NOTE:  This prophecy included a disclaimer. "Do not return until God says so" 
                        presumes continued listening on Joseph's part. What a great example to modern 
                        believers. We need to study this man more to understand a heart of obedience, a
                        life of obedience.

    In this passage the prophecy that led Joseph to Egypt is fulfilled. Again Joseph waits in obedience. While there seems to be an awareness of happenings in Israel, he does not move until God sends an angel to say it is now time to return.

    Again, he models acceptance of the word from God. This time he models not getting ahead of God using human reasoning.

    "God says it. I believe it. That's good enough for me" goes a chorus from my childhood. "God says it. I believe it. That's good enough for me"Joseph illustrates in this passage.

    The trouble is that we, despite the great witness of many scriptures, do not wait on God to speak. Most Christians I know do not even expect God to speak. And we certainly do not expect ministering angels to speak God's instructions to us. 


    The next prophecy Joseph receives reveals that being obedient and trusting in the Lord does not always mean being fearless.

    Joseph obeyed God's instruction to return. The writer reveals he did so without delay. This is important because the writer also tells us that Joseph learned new information that made him afraid to go back to what we call Judea.

    That was a reasonable fear. His family might be endanger there. But, he did not delay. He became afraid, but he remained obedient. No delay to wait for God to supply the answer he wanted.

    From this we learn two things: It is okay to be afraid. Obedience does not wait when confronted with fear. Again, Joseph is being a wonderful model to believers to day. A model of normal Christianity.



    Again Joseph did not know what God had in mind next. He did not know that he was going to be used to fulfill another older prophecy.

    NOTE:    We do not know what prophecy the writer is referring to. "He shall be called a Nazarene" does not appear in our scriptures nor in Jewish scriptures. The usual response by scholars is that this might refer to a root meaning of Nazarene. But we do not have that root meaning either.

    Jesus was to be called a Nazarene, a person from Nazareth. Nazareth was a relatively small town in Galilee. A quiet out of the way spot just right for a man that feared for his family. How wonderfully sensitive God is to our needs, even to our fears!

    Photo Credits:
    Afraid and Worried, ll by Onur Yildirim  Palko some rights reserved

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