Your First Step in Radical, Immediate Obedience

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Obeying God quickly opens up an adventure in Holy Spirit.
Obeying God quickly opens up an adventure in Holy Spirit. (Taylor Nicole)

"You want me to go where?" That would have been my response to a dream to take my family and move to a weird place where there were foreign gods, idols and all kinds of evil practices. Joseph, though, didn't react that way.

We're Outta Here

It happened right after the wise men hightailed it out of Bethlehem to avoid Herod: "Now when they departed, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, 'Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word. For Herod will seek the young Child to kill Him'" (Matt. 2:13).

The next line indicates Joseph didn't hesitate. Even though it was still night, he got up, took Jesus and Mary and left for Egypt. Think about that for a minute. They had traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a journey of 80 miles.

Trip from Nazareth

Most sources agree it would take from four days to a week of travel to go that far. They only took necessities with them. They knew, though, that the baby would be born in Bethlehem, so they likely carried carpenter's tools with them for Joseph to use to ply his trade once there.

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They had been living in Bethlehem for a year or more. They had probably acquired some items to make life easier. But now Joseph, without hesitating, hastily leaves. He has money now, though. Remember the gold from the wise men?

God provided for His Son before the need became apparent.

Egypt By Night

The journey to Egypt was about 65 miles. It doesn't say how they traveled. Perhaps they still had the donkey some believe they used to travel to Bethlehem in the first place.

Whether Joseph thought about it or not, traveling by night was a great way to move about undetected. Egypt was probably the last place Herod would think a Jew would go. So even though it was a pagan country, it was a safe haven for God's Son.

Joseph came into this gig as the Messiah's adopted father, totally unaware of what would be required of him. It had been a wild and crazy ride to this point—angels, dreams, shepherds, prophet, prophetess and Magi from a foreign land, laden with gifts fit for royalty.

I'd say by this point in time, God's leading in his life had become something Joseph expected. It was an everyday thing. Leaving for Egypt was a no-brainer for this young man of God.

Herod's Rampage

In the meantime, Herod killed all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were 2 years old and under. He had calculated the age of the birth from the information the wise men had told him about when they had seen the star (see Matt. 2:16).

The young family stayed in Egypt until Herod died. The time frame is not spelled out in Scripture. Some sources say it might have been months, or it could have been years.

However long it was, Joseph and Mary knew their primary job was being Jesus' earthly caretakers. They were not surprised when the angel appeared to Joseph in another dream and told him to go back to Israel because "those who sought the young Child's life are dead" (Matt. 2:20b).

Another Dream

One more time, Joseph receives a dream and is directed where to reside. "Nevertheless, being warned by God in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He shall be called a Nazarene'" (Matt. 2:22b-23). 

Although Joseph was Jesus' adopted father, it's apparent His real daddy was directing His Son's life from the very beginning. This baby had a destiny that would not be fulfilled until He reached the proper age.

God's Extreme Love

God went to extreme efforts to pave the way for His Son. Of course Jesus was special. There is no denying that. However, are we not all children of God? He has the same love for each of us that He had for Jesus.

I know that because He loved us so much that if you and I believe in, cling to and rely on Him we will not perish, come to destruction or be lost but have eternal or everlasting life (see John 3:16, AMP).

Then Jesus went one step further and let us know that His desire is to give us "life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]" (John 10:10b, AMP).

It's further emphasized when Paul says God will "do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within u" (Eph. 3:20b, AMP).

Like A Butterfly

God came to earth so we could soar, like the butterfly. Most people who know me know I love the analogy of the butterfly. I used to crawl on the ground like caterpillars eating everything in sight. Then I went through metamorphosis and lost 260 pounds. Now I feel like I am able to soar with an entirely new perspective. I was changed, not of my own making, but by tapping into God's strength.

I have two video courses on my website that were some of my favorites to do. One is Metamorphosis and the other is Chrysalis. Metamorphosis is all about the process it takes to begin and go through lifestyle change. The major part of that change happens in the chrysalis, the surrender stage, where everything not in tune with our destiny has to be removed.  

Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction and Sweet Freedom. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Connect with her there or on her Facebook page or Twitter.

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