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Lesson # Matthew 2:19-23
Study Material - Matthew 2:19-23
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19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 'Arise and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead.' 21 And he arose and took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he departed for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He shall be called a Nazarene.'
Isa. 51:12-13, Why should we be afraid of any man who is destined to die? Who has no power over the living in eternity? Who has no control over the soul of others? Mankind is like the grass of the field, they come and go.
Ecc. 9:6, all of their sinful plans, desires, etc. will perish with them when they die. The sin nature is checkmated at death. It lays down in total defeat.
Job 3:17, in death the wicked stop raging. They are stopped dead in their tracks.
Josephus gives a gruesome account of the death of Herod as follows:
'(Antiq. 17.146-199), that he was seized with a disease which burned him inwardly with an inexpressible torture; that he was insatiably greedy of meat; had the colic, and gout, and dropsy; such an intolerable stench attended his disease, that none could come near him: and so passionate and impatient was he, that he was a torment to himself, and a terror to all that attended him: his innate cruelty, being thus exasperated, made him more barbarous than ever; having ordered his own son to be put to death, he imprisoned many of the nobility and gentry, and ordered that as soon as he was dead they should be killed; but that execution was prevented. See what kind of men have been the enemies and persecutors of Christ and his followers! Few have opposed Christianity but such as have first divested themselves of humanity, as Nero and Domitian.'
So God has protected Joseph and his family in Egypt while history ran its course. God could have ended Herod's life sooner but to demonstrate the degree of evil that existed in Herod, God allowed him to live a while longer. Herod was never threatened by Christ's birth, but in his own imaginations, he perceived some kind of threat that would have taken the attention of the people away from him. Herod looked to people and the things of this world for his security rather than God. God gave him time to change his attitude, but Herod did not change. And despite a terrible health problem and ugly death, he still refused to turn to God and died a total spiritual failure. The spiritual life is the only thing that will continue into eternity with any value of significance.
God directs Joseph to remain in Egypt and so Joseph does as told. God then sends word that Herod had died. Even more than that Herod's son, whom Herod had killed and probably was a potential threat to Christ and Joseph's family, was gone as well. Further more the territory had been broken up into smaller areas for rule, and several people now ruled in the different areas. Archelaus ruled in Judea, where Herod had ruled over all of Israel. Philip ruled in Galilee and he was a rather passive person. Certainly not ruthless like Herod.
Nothing and no place can prevent God from getting his message to any one of us. God sends messages to Joseph in Egypt, to Ezekiel in Babylon, and to John in Patmos. No matter where you are in this world. If you are obedient to God, He will get His Word to you, one way or another. Remember that in eternity past God could see your attitude and then placed you in the appropriate time in history to maximize your spiritual life. No one has any disadvantage by living in one time period verses another in history.
If we wait on God, if we study His word, if we advance in our spiritual life, then God will guide and promote us in a manner that will be appropriate to His plan and in our best interest. We lose nothing by letting God run our life. We could potentially lose everything if we try to do things in our own way, or just sit around and complain about all the unfair things in life. Complaining never solved anything. It only destroys you from within yourself.
Feeling sorry about your circumstances in life never solved anything. It is just an attitude that takes the position that God can't deal with your particular problem, and that is the quintessence of arrogance and self pity, which is of course a sin.
Joseph waited on God's command and obeyed it when it came. God did not forget Joseph, but carefully allowed circumstances in history to run their course and to further validate the prophecies foretold of Christ, and validate the Bible as well.
Isa. 11:1, the 'branch' in this verse is the word 'netzar', which stands for the city of Nazareth. So out of the city of Nazareth comes Christ, therefore He is called a Nazarene. So centuries before, Isaiah spoke of Christ in such detail that no other source of writing could have foreseen these events. Only writings from God could prove history so accurately and insure their occurrence.
God directed Joseph to return, but not to Judea. He returned to Galilee where he would raise the child until His time had come. For twenty some years Jesus grew up in Nazareth, while the neighbors and the folks all around never once recognized nor inquired about him. Such was the deficiency of the spiritual lives of the population.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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