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 …
Matthew 2:13, 14
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Joseph heard from God in a dream, woke up, packed the family, and headed for Egypt. Just like that. Immediate obedience.
We see this same immediate obedience a little further in Matthew 2:20 and 21 when an angel of the Lord told Joseph to get up and take Mary and Jesus to Israel. “Then he arose …” No dallying. No listing of the pros and cons, no questioning of “Did I hear that right?” or “Did God really mean that?” that we are so prone to list and question. Immediate obedience. And yes, when people are hunting you down you’re much less apt to loiter. But we saw the same immediate obedience back in Matthew 1, when there was no death threat:
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins … Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Further in today’s reading, we find this: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
People sometimes read that and think “God wants me to fear Him,” like He’s a spider or a thug. But that’s not what is meant. To fear God, in the biblical sense, is to have so much reverence for Him that you couldn’t bear to disobey Him. It’s living to please Him.
Only that kind of reverence will have you packing up and moving on at a word from God.