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Time to Move by Faith

Matthew 2:19-21
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead.' So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Isra (NIVUK)

Egypt was not to be Jesus' home. It was a temporary refuge, as it had been for the children of Israel over 1800 years previously - until it was God’s time for them to move. We do not know how long Joseph had been looking after his family in exile when God spoke to him in another dream. King Herod and his court had gone, and with them the immediate threat to Jesus' life; it was time to leave Egypt. Joseph knew that God was speaking to him, and so he moved quickly in obedience; leading his family back to Israel with the confidence that God would open up the next chapter for them.

Moving, is the repeated narrative of the Bible: God's people kept on moving at His command – from Canaan to Egypt, out of Egypt, through the wilderness, into the Promised Land, into exile, and back from exile to await the Messiah. It is also the story of the Early Church: always on the move, seeking openings for the gospel or scattered through persecution. They were like Abraham: "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10)

Instinctively, we want to make a home and stay there. Often God uses that desire to enable us to be useful to Him in the place He chooses for us, as long as He wants us to be there. However, every earthly circumstance is only temporary. There is a time to stay and a time to move. Only God knows when the time is right. Because He fits everything into the pattern of His purposes, He has the right to command His people to stay put until the time to move on. So we should call no place 'home' except the place which He assigns to us, and then only for as long as He allows. So when God says, "Stay!", we should not move: when He says, "Move!", we should not stay. That is faith.

Great God of time and space. Thank You that my times are in Your hands and that You know the right time and place for everything and everybody. Forgive me when I hold my home too tightly; when I stay for my own comfort when You have told me to move; when I move on my own impulse without Your command. Please help me to be content in every circumstance and change which You allow, to only push on doors in peace and never in panic, and to learn practical faith as I obey Your commands. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams