Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Matthew 2:13–15
This is one of three wake up calls for Joseph, see Matthew 2:13-14 “When he arose…”. The other two are recorded in Matthew 1:24 “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep…” and Matthew 2:20-21 “Then he arose…”
It is already established that Joseph is an unknown character, a simple carpenter, minding his own business (literally) aka Archippus. How does this wake up call “participate” in God’s larger kingdom agenda? What does it mean for the Church of Jesus Christ? How does it lead to our own wake up calls?
Joseph: Wake Up Call
“Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.” Behold is to call attention to something. God can speak through dreams, visions, events, symbols, pictures, plainly; but always in ways we can understand. “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt”: Arise is to rise from sleep. Wake up. The specific instructions regarding people and place are given to Joseph to bring his family to Egypt. It is not a honeymoon for two, it is not where he wants to go, but to Egypt. The resources of gold, frankincense and myrrh are already provided. Wherever God sends, He already has His people in place for support and encouragement. The case for action is also given: “for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him”. This presents the “if I do not respond…” scenario. The enemy is always waiting and wanting to snuff out “the Christ life” in believers. If we do not wake up and move, someone’s life may be affected. Our lives and assignments are never for ourselves. They are for someone else. How absurd that Man should be called upon to protect God . Joseph had to move or else Jesus, who is God and King, would be destroyed. And yet, this is the privilege of God-given kingdom assignments.
“When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.” The threat of death was extremely imminent. Herod’s soldiers might have already been dispatched and on the way to Bethlehem. Joseph could have woken up and gone back to sleep but he obeyed immediately. Joseph left by night, in the dark, guided only by God’s Word and His Presence. Joseph was asked to “stay there until I bring you word”. Being on assignment with God involves waiting, watching and listening. In the meantime, enjoy the ride until the next “Behold”. This is just the introduction to a much bigger call and assignment. Joseph’s assignment was critical and integral to God’s larger picture. That is how we must see our assignments too. We may not understand what or why but as long as God asks us to participate in His purpose, it is for something beyond us, something far greater than we can fathom or imagine.
Joseph’s assignment was a part of God’s prophetic move. Your assignment is also a part of God’s prophetic end-time move.
Take Out Call: Fulfilment of Hosea 11:1
“…and was there [Egypt] … that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matthew 2:15)
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” (Hosea 11:1)
Hosea, a minor prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel, was commanded to marry a prostitute Gomer as an illustration of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness to a people who were unfaithful, idolatrous and rebellious. In the first 10 chapters, God states His case against Israel and judgment is pronounced. From Hosea 11 onwards, the tone changes. Hosea looks back to the Exodus story in Egypt and recounts God’s faithfulness and love. Hosea was not foretelling an event but a pattern of how God interacts in His relationship with His people. This prophetic pattern of bondage, deliverance and calling has repeated fulfillments until its ultimate and absolute fulfillment in the Messiah.
The Church: Sent Out Call
Hosea 11:1 was fulfilled in Christ. Therefore, it also stands true for us who believe, who are in Christ. We were once enslaved to sin as master (Romans 6:5-6). We died with Christ and have been set free. The “church” is a gathering or an assembly taken out of society with a common purpose or agenda. The church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23) is not just a bunch of ex-slaves but a family in Christ with God as our Father. Slaves or servants adhere to demands of the master, guided by the Law, servants of Christ understand the Spirit of the Law. Sons and daughters willingly do the will of the Father, motivated by love. The bride of Christ understands relationships.
Jesus called the twelve disciples to Himself, appointed them as apostles (sent ones) and sent them out with assignments (Matthew 10:1ff). As disciples of Jesus, we too are appointed and assigned albeit differently from the original twelve. This is a sent out call, not an opt out call. Are you aware, or are you asleep? There is a need for a wake up call in the Church, that we may “walk worthy of the calling” with which we were called (Ephesians 4:1ff, Colossians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:12).
It all began with a wake up call. Joseph’s wake up call led to Jesus’ take out call. And Jesus’ take out call led to our sent out call.