When I read this passage, this is what I pictured:

Joseph awoke from a dream so real, he looked around for the angel. It had been shaking him, looking intently into his eyes, speaking with a direct command.

In the pitch dark he woke up Mary, whispering the angel’s urgent words, “Flee to Egypt. Now.” While she gathered bread, a pot, and cotton cloths, he loaded the donkey with straw, water, and three blankets.

Around midnight they left Bethlehem. Walking stealthily to the outskirts of town, Joseph took the road southward. The moon, cloaked with a threadbare scarf of clouds, gave a feeble light as he chose his steps. After several hours the terrified pounding of his heart diminished to match his walking pace.

He tried to direct his mind away from his fears of Herod’s diabolical scheme, of lurking bandits, dwindling water supply, and the difficulties of finding a decent place to stay in Egypt. He prayed for Mary and the boy.

Perhaps Joseph recited Psalm 91:11-16 to himself as they traveled. Perhaps he thought the angel was traveling with them, guarding them, protecting them, being with them in trouble, rescuing them and showing them His salvation.

Isn’t that what we all need?

Today, we not only have God’s messengers, we have His message in the Bible. When was the last time we used it as a source of direction when we felt danger closing in?

O Merciful God, help me not to avoid your directives, but to obey them. Be with me in all my attempts to flee evil. So many today are persecuted in their homelands and are forced to run for their lives. Please send your angels to guard them in all their ways. And be with me. Help me to hold onto you even when I don’t understand your ways. I pray through your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Go Deeper — Take some time to pray using Psalm 91:11-16, referenced above. For more help in expressing your need and finding comfort from the Psalms, try Psalm 27, 28, 31 or 34.

Tags: Nativity Matthew 1
Photo Credit: Ben White