There are so many instances where I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat when I read through one of the many narratives in the Word.
I was taught, like many of you, many of these familiar verses as stories, without the addition of the word “true” beforehand.
The Bible is filled with true life moments in real people’s lives…and because they didn’t yet have cameras or video recorders, these snapshots were captured in story format.
And God collected them together into a volume of hope, love and His Presence all infused into real life situations.
Two of the words which captures my attention the most but actually aren’t necessarily written in the accounts are “and then…”
You see, God shows up in every story, but not always when or how we would have thought He would.
Take Joseph and Mary with the newborn Jesus. Mary wouldn’t have been cleared for the long trek home for a while after childbirth, so the family was hanging out in the stable in a pending mode. Waiting for direction.
The shepherds had already come to worship their King, and share their wonderous invitation to the manger with Mary and Joseph.
Who, no doubt, were likely still reeling over the situation they found themselves in. Away from all their loves ones, with a newborn baby miracle, staying in a stable, not sure what to do next. The most logical step would be to immediately head back to Nazareth as soon as Mary could travel.
All we do know is that they did bring Jesus to the temple (but more.about that tomorrow).
The wise men, who had been seeking the King of Kings proclaimed in the skies found the newborn Jesus, and laid gifts at His feet. Frankincense, gold and myrrh.
Now not only have the outcast shepherds, the lowliest of society come and worshipped, but now wealthy foreigners have lavishly done the same!
I don’t know about you, but I’d be more than a little astounded by this turn of events, and even more unsure what this might mean if I were Joseph and Mary.
In another dream, Joseph is warned they need to flee Israel and head to Egypt, to keep Jesus from being slaughtered by King Herod.
A carpenter, Joseph had likely already used up a good chunk of his budget for this extended trip to Bethlehem, and wouldn’t have had time to head back to Nazareth to refill his wallet before leaving the country.
Which is why God put it on the hearts of the wise men to berung the gifts they had to offer the newborn King.
Those gifts would have supplied the roof over their heads and food in their bellies, start up capital for their sudden journey into Egypt.
God often shows up in the unexpected as often as the expected.
I noticed that Joseph immediately moved with Mary and Jesus into Egypt. After the unfolding of everything that has happened in the last several months… the late in life pregnancy of Elizabeth, the struck dumb Zachariah, the birth of John, the miraculous pregnancy of Mary, the angel visits… Joseph has seen and heard enough to know his part is to be obedient to follow where God directs him.
God always knows what is up ahead, and how to guide us when we can’t see the next step.
Our part is to let Him lead.
And then… He makes the way clear and provides all we need to live and follow Him!
He moves in power, releasing His strength, staying close in Presence as He shines truth and pours out His love into us.
This blows my mind every time I read the Word, and each moment I invite Him to move in my life.. and then!