Matthew 2 (ESV)
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
From birth Jesus had a target on his back. Matthew records in chapter 2 that Herod (king of Judea) was troubled (as were all of Jerusalem with him), when the “wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him'” (Matthew 2:1-3).
When the chief priests and scribes told Herod where the Christ was to be born according to prophecies (specifically Micah 5:2) and told him what time the star appeared, he pretended to have noble purposes for sending them out to find Him. He tells them in secret that he wants to go to Him and worship Him. But worship was not what Herod had in mind. This jealous king wanted to hunt Jesus down and kill Him.
Herod’s deceptive plan didn’t work as these wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. They didn’t. After they left the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13).
When Herod realized he had been tricked, he was so furious that he “killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16). What a horrific scene of evil and how devastating for all those innocent little ones and their families.
The chapter closes with the death of Herod and the Lord leading Joseph out of Egypt and into the land of Israel. After hearing that Herod’s son Archelaus was reigning over Judea, Joseph withdrew to Galilee where they lived in Nazareth.
What I’m reminded of in reflecting on this chapter is how prevalent evil was (and is) but how sovereign God was (and is). From the very beginning of Jesus’ life, He was hunted. Although many innocent lives were lost by this evil king, he was not able to ultimately fulfill his goal of killing Jesus. Why? Joseph listened to God.
If we listen to God, if we follow His lead, He will guide us no matter what evil people do around us or to us.
While God can certainly speak to us through dreams, we rely on His Spirit and His Word to lead us into the will of God no matter where that brings us or what happens to us along the way. If we believe “that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) and our focus is to glorify God in all things, then we can trust God’s will for us no matter what evil people do.
Father, give me the strength to not only trust you in all things but help me to listen as you lead me. Help me to not live in the static of life but instead dial in to your signal by the working of your Holy Spirit and your Word so I can hear with clarity where you are guiding me in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Thank you for reading my Daily Bible Journal!
Reading, reflecting and writing from the Bible has so radically impacted my life in Christ, it’s as if I’ve been on auto-pilot when reading the Bible in the past. There’s something about “sitting with the text” and through prayerful reflection, sharing what comes to mind. Because I’m posting online for others to read, I consider my words carefully and try to be clear and accurate.
This daily process enhances my understanding of God’s Word and embeds it into my conscience. It literally gets “hidden in my heart!”
I hope this encourages others to be in God’s Word every day.
For God’s Glory,