Our scripture this week is Matthew 2:13-23, taken today from the New International Version ( NIV).

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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 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.” 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. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “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.” After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 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, 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.

Not everyone was overjoyed about the birth of Jesus. Some highly placed people were threatened by the arrival of the new King and sought to destroy Him because they feared losing their power and position. Rather than rejoicing, they were plotting.

This wasn’t part of God’s plan and He sent an angel to warn Joseph of the danger. Joseph listened and his family was protected through their obedience. Later, they return to their homeland when God told them it was safe.

Jesus was persecuted for His life and ministry from the very beginning. However, Joseph and Mary protected Him as a child because they listened and obeyed God. We can protect Christ living in us the same way, by hearing God’s call and avoiding the distractions and dangers the world has for us. Protect your faith by listening for God’s voice and following the lessons Jesus teaches us.

Gracious God, we want to keep Your commandments in our hearts and in our lives. Help us to hear the guidance You give and share Your love with everyone. Amen.

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