Joseph believed in dreams. I frequently have vivid and weird dreams. Sometimes I try to figure them out. Joseph, however, had dreams directly from God. Were they always so straight forward as our narrator tells us or did he have to figure them out? Were the ones we are told about in Matthew the only ones God spoke to him in? Raising God’s son, I would expect a bit more direct input. I put my two cents in with my grandkids upbringing on occasion.
Apparently Herod was not convinced he got the Christ in his murderous night at Bethlehem. The bible says, “Those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He still looked for him as long as he lived. Joseph even expected Herod’s son to carry on the search to some extent. God kept Jesus safely in Egypt until after Herod’s death. This kept Jesus, Mary and Joseph out of Herod’s reach.
Herod finally died and God sent word to Joseph that it was time to go home. Joseph’s dream told him to leave Egypt and go back to Israel. It sounds like Joseph headed that way but when he heard that Herod’s son, Archelaus, was now ruling in Judea Joseph got scared. Did Joseph believe he was being called to go back to Bethlehem itself? The bible doesn’t say he was called to go back where he started from exactly but to go back to Israel.
God sent Joseph another dream. My bible says, “Being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.” Did his dream tell him exactly where to go this time? Was it in the dream where Joseph actually learned of Archelaus? By going to Galilee, especially Nazareth, Joseph was again fulfilling prophecy for Jesus’ life.
God didn’t discount Joseph’s fear and force him to go to Bethlehem. God also didn’t tell him it was ok to stay in Egypt either. God gave Joseph an alternative that met both their needs. God actually used Joseph’s reluctance to return to fulfill another portion of prophecy.
God doesn’t discount our fears either. He listens to our heart’s cry and speaks directly to our issues. He has plans for our lives. Probably not as grand as Joseph’s but plans created by Him none the less. We can choose one of several options when it comes to His plans. We can choose to move into them, ask for modifications, or refuse them outright.
God apparently knew Joseph would choose option number two and planned how to proceed from that point LONG before Joseph was even born. God doesn’t have “plan A”, “plan B”, and “plan C” in His arsenal. He knows the twists and turns we are going to take long before we do. Those deviations too are part of His plan. We will eventually get to where He is leading us. I take GREAT comfort in that, because it means that no matter how hard I try I can’t surprise God or keep Him from accomplishing His plan for my life. This doesn’t mean that my stubbornness won’t cause me to take longer to get where He intends me to go, but that even my detours will bring lessons I needed along the way to complete His work in me by the time I reach His final intended destination.
Thank You God for never giving up on me, no matter how many times I get off track.