Matthew 2:13-19 Fleeing For Their Lives

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children. She refused to be comforted because they are no more (vs 18)”

A couple of questions pop into my head right away. Question number one. Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem for the census but didn’t return once it was over. Why not? The couple in Israel usually stays as an engaged couple while the husband works on their first home. Once the home is finished he goes and gets his bride and the wedding occurs then. Joseph had to cut the engagement short because of Mary’s condition. Does this mean they had no “home” to return to? If so, staying wouldn’t have been an issue. Joseph was a carpenter so he could probably find work anywhere. This also left them in Jesus’ birth place for the visit of the wise men.

Second, how long did Herod wait after the wise men left to realize he had been duped? He had to at least give them time to travel both ways and to search for the Christ. How long did they stay with Jesus’ family? How long after they left Mary and Joseph did the angel appear to him in his dream? Joseph had to get up in the middle of the night to get out in time. Did he go in the middle of the night because it was easier to conceal them or was it because they left IMMEDIATELY after the dream?

Moving is expensive. I should know because of how many times I have had to do it. God provided for them BEFORE they even knew they were going to have to move. Joseph had probably been working as a carpenter during their stay in Bethlehem but they would have been using that money to live on. They had to have a home, furnishings, food and clothes. They probably didn’t have a lot of extra money lying around. But the wise men had just given them gifts before leaving. This gift would see them safely to Egypt and help them reestablish their home, since they probably didn’t take much with them when fleeing in the night. Even in this move God was fulfilling prophecy. God was working His plan.

This is the part of the story I hate. If the wise men hadn’t alerted Herod to Jesus’ birth all those innocent children wouldn’t have had to suffer. (You just showed me why as we typed. Thank You!) In order for a matter to be established legally there has to be independent documentation/verification. The wise men HAD to come as the independent source. They had to stop by Herod’s home to alert the religious leaders to the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus’ birth; independent source number two. Herod’s intervention was a byproduct of that. The REPEATED fulfillment of prophecy was the only way to establish ABSOLUTE proof of Jesus being the one and only Messiah. Leaving out even one event weakened the case. You didn’t cause any of the pain required in the fulfillment of the prophecies but You told of the price before it was required. THIS proves Your case.

I wonder how many children were killed that night. The timeline established by the wise men helped spare a lot of children too. Thank You for that stipulation at least. Those children gave their lives never knowing the secret they protected. Their mothers most likely never even knew why the soldiers did what they did. I cannot even imagine their pain! Please God tell me You comforted them at some point and that You cared for all those children. You tell us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground that You don’t know about, so I’m sure You were crying too on this awful night.

The price of sin was high that night. If Eve could have known what it would cost, would she have taken that bite anyway? You knew what it would cost before creation, but You chose to do it anyway. We have torn Your heart out so many times, but You still love us. I’ve known the costs of some of my own choices and made them anyway. Yet, You still love me. Why?!? Your love is amazing and I am SO unworthy. PLEASE help me stop hurting You in the things that I do. Even in the way I respond when woken in the night, let me show Your love. If You can love us (me) after all we (I) have done against You, surely we can learn to show that love back to each other.

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