KEY SCRIPTURE Matthew 2:13-15
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
After the birth of Jesus, Joseph's future changed immediately. God's angel told him to flee to Egypt. The word flee does not simply mean to travel at any pace, like a sightseeing tour, but to run as if a pack of wolves are chasing you. Imagine Joseph, one-minute basking in the birth of this special boy, the next, on high alert, packing all their stuff in the middle of the night and leaving.
What I like about this couple is their ability to heed. They were both intimately in touch with the Lord, each having a personal and close relationship with God.
I'm guessing you probably won't get contacted by an angel and directed to Egypt. But what directions has the Lord given you this year that you have not yet obeyed? What big or little things have you been putting off until a more convenient day? Or till you have more time? Or until a time you can be bothered?
Instead of obeying instantly, what if Joseph said of Bethlehem, "I can't see any trouble happening here just yet. I'll hang around for a few more days, then go."
What if Mary told Joe, "I need rest for a few more days." Or "It's too early to take the child on such a long trek. Why don't we give it another week." Or, maybe something more forceful and selfish, "I'm not going until we get more supplies. I need nappies, formula, and petroleum jelly, and we need some items for ourselves; it's such a long journey. I'm not going until the stores open!" These responses would be more like Lot's wife than the mother of Jesus. And sometimes, a lack of obedience has a big impact, as in Jonah and the whale.
I've procrastinated enough times to know there is always regret in the end.
What New Year's resolution can you implement before New Year's Day?
Is there a Bible book or person you were going to study? An online course you've only half finished? A Prayer Calender you still haven't completed and been praying?
97% of New Year's resolutions never get fulfilled. On average, they last between one and three weeks. By then, those promises we made to ourselves and others dissolves like butter melting in the sun.
Those massive New Year's Day commencements wane like a sprinting runner in a marathon.
They don't need to! Start before New Year's Day and get those outstanding commitments done. Get a run-on, and begin this morning. You already know what they are. A few days early will make all the difference. And may the Lord bless you in your pursuits.
PRAYER Dear Lord, I have made promises to myself and haven't kept them all. Please help me start and finish the outstanding ones so I can move on.
Photo by Brett Jordan