The Faith Journey

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” 6 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:1-6

This is the first we see that Moses didn’t complain about his assignment. Since he was going with his big brother Aaron, it would be okay.

Admittedly, though, their assignment was not exactly a “resume enhancer” because God already told them that Pharaoh wouldn’t let the Israelites go. But they had to at least make the effort to inform Pharaoh of the Lord’s intentions. This would be the first of many miracles Pharaoh would request and the duo would perform on the Lord’s behalf.

There’s no indication that they went to Pharaoh fearing for their lives. The Lord had given them enough confidence to go and boldly request the Israelites leave. That in itself is a testament to God giving both of them faith and confidence in their God and their mission. Over time and with enough reassurance, they were up to the task.

Should our faith be as malleable as that? Probably not but we’re not given such monumental and life-changing tasks either.

Jesus told us we needed to have faith the size of a mustard seed, so we probably shouldn’t be comparing our faith to Moses’ and Aaron’s faith. Actually, we shouldn’t be comparing our faith to anyone else’s faith because we are all at different stages of our faith journey. What may be tremendous faith to some may be plain vanilla faith to someone who is much further along in their faith, not more advanced or more spiritual, but further along in their walk.

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Heading to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:19-23

Most people do not get specific directions like this in life.

What we’re seeing is like one of those movies where the person has multiple cameras watching a large area and tells a person to move at precise times so as to avoid detection and trouble. Having an angel of the Lord do this is much more reliable than a movie script. Most of us will never have a big picture view of our circumstances. We may get insights but nothing resembling seeing all the pieces falling together or falling apart.

Joseph obviously didn’t have that insight either but he did have the Holy Spirit guiding him for a very specific purpose – to preserve the Christ child.

Guidance from God isn’t as clear cut as some Bible teachers like to make it. As Believers God gives us a lot of latitude in our decisions. Are we being loving (John 13:34), thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18), abstaining from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5), and being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1)? Pray and ask God’s wisdom in the matter.

After all that, make a decision, asking God to redirect you if it’s the wrong decision.

There is obviously more to seeking wisdom and direction than this, but God trusts us to make wise decisions when certain criteria are being met. He can and will redirect as He sees fit. He’ll close the door or open another one. Or maybe He won’t give you peace about a certain decision.

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Rachel Weeping for Her Children

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

Matthew 2: 13-18

There’s quite a bit going on in this passage. The Magi, Joseph, and a prophecy about Herod killing the unborn. They’re all related.

The wise men or Magi didn’t trust Herod, but Joseph had no idea what was happening on that front, so he had to be warned.

Again, we’re grateful that Joseph was obedient in taking Mary as his wife even after he found out she was pregnant. Mary would have been on her own without any kind of protection or cover. Even so, they were on their own to outsmart Herod, but it was certainly easier with a man in the home.

We don’t know if Joseph was told more than this, but it must have been a shock to know that the government was out to get their child. In his thirst for blood and power, he was terrified of Jesus so he ordered all boys under the age of two living new Bethlehem to be killed. How possessed do you have to be to want to murder children like that!

We somehow think that governments sanctioning abortion is a relatively new idea, something that was implemented in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. It’s been going on for at least 2000 years. Even before that Pharaoh demanded baby boys be slaughtered because he felt threatened – though in his case, by a twist of good fortune, Pharaoh’s daughter helped raise up the child he felt threatened by.

As long as abortion is legal and sanctioned by the government, we need to keep praying.

We need to pray for the leaders, the women who are deceived by a quick but dark solution, and many men who force their will over these women to end their pregnancy.

I know this is not a typical devotional, but we live in very difficult times. If we don’t speak up for those most vulnerable, no one else will.

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They Bowed Down and Worshiped the Child

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:9-12

After finding the Christ child, these men bowed down and worshiped the boy. That was their first act upon seeing Him. Then they presented Him with riches and spices. That’s all we know about them before and after this event. We don’t know for certain whether they were of royalty or just wise men. They didn’t want to be known, otherwise they would have broadcast to the world who they were and what they were doing. No, they were merely a band of men (with their entourage) and they wanted to see and worship the child.

Yes, the phrase “Wise men still seek him” is still appropriate for our times.

Wise men, women, and children who do not care for fame or fortune. They just want to be in His presence. It’s certainly not a bad way to live.

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Merry Christmas!

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25

After hearing what the angel of the Lord had told him, Joseph was completely obedient. There didn’t seem to be any hesitation from that point on. He may not have understood the gravity of his mission at the time, but he is one of the few Bible characters a billion people think about once a year. Not only would he become Bible famous but more importantly, he helped usher in the Son of God. Without his obedience to provide and protect Mary, she would have had to bear and bring up the child herself. While we don’t know much about Joseph after the birth, the story of Jesus’ birth would not have been what it is without him. He’s unnoticed but integral to the Plan.

Merry Christmas!

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