Matthew 2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
This whole story is so extremely familiar that it’s hard to read it with any degree of freshness. I preached on verse 10 last week! However, this verse is a reminder that God does guide us, if we are sensitive to hear Him. The Magi were obviously pretty tuned to such things, because they had come all the way from Persia to find the baby Christ. Their avoiding Herod in this way brings to mind the story from the Old Testament, where God clued Elisha on what was going on with the Aramaeans. (2 Kings 6:11-12) God indeed knows everything that is going on, all the time, and if we will be submitted to Him He will let us know as much as we need to know. It’s not wise to get greedy, demanding to know more, but if our hearts are quiet before Him He will enable us to avoid all sorts of traps of the devil. Another thing we learn from this story is that there are always those who will try to interfere with God’s plans because they are more in tune with the devil than with God. As Peter said, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) God can tell us where the “lion” is waiting to attack us, just as He did in this story. Reading on, we learn that Joseph also was informed of the situation in a dream, and he too took action. (verses 13-15) Both the Magi and Joseph are illustrations of the simple reality that we have to follow the guidance God gives us, but if we do, things will turn out much better than otherwise.
I’ve never been one to receive dreams from the Lord, but I couldn’t begin to count how many times and in how many ways God has guided me. I am not to take pride in that, but rather be grateful for God’s mercy and grace and seek to be ever more sensitive to hear Him. I am still very prone to say and do things without His guidance, as I demonstrated just yesterday, striking out from self-centered ignorance and hurting people I care deeply about. I too need to choose to listen all the time, hearing God and hearing the people around me, so that my words and actions may flow with His Spirit and nothing else, for His glory.
Father, thank You for Your patience with me. I ask for wisdom in how to help heal the hurts I caused yesterday, and I ask for more restraint, greater sensitivity, so that my words won’t wound needlessly. I realize that my words have weight, and that can be a heavy responsibility at times. May the words from my mouth accomplish Your will and no other, for good and not evil, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!