What in the World?

"Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.' So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet; 'OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.' " Matt. 2: 13-15

The magi left their presents, and left the scene. They had been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, and tell him where he could find Jesus. Obedient to God, they returned home to their own country by another way. (Matt. 2:12)

Hosea had prophesied, "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." The flight to Egypt was a practical necessity and a prophetic fulfillment. God, not Herod, was in charge of the events that were unfolding. God's omniscience was revealed in prophecy, long before Herod's corrupt soul was on the throne. Prophecy had told what was going to happen, but it took contemporary events to unfold why they were happening that way.

I have to admit, there have been times I have called out to God, "What in the world are you doing?" When I say this, it does not reveal my deep concern for the welfare of the world. I will leave that to Miss America contestants. They always seem to be concerned about world peace. My outburst is caused by the collision of God's "What" on the beach of my "Why." In retrospect, my only vision that is 100% accurate, I can always see "Why" God did "What" He did. My goal in life is to make the faith of my windshield as clear as my rear view mirror. It takes constant cleaning, and the willingness to drive into the fog and trust God to clear the way ahead.

In Oklahoma, they have warning signs posted on their turnpikes urging people not to drive into the smoke. I was confused about the reason for the signs, and asked a long time resident of the state what the reason was for the warning. He told me that the plains are notorious for grass fires, and they can rage for many miles before they are brought under control or burn themselves out. The toxic fumes of the smoke are carried by the same high winds that propel the fire, and can make driving hazardous due to the fog that is cast across miles of highway. People have been known to drive into the smoke and be overcome by the fumes. They cannot drive fast enough to outrun the smoke, or they can't turn around fast enough. The signs are taken very seriously. Smart people live in Oklahoma, Boomers, Sooners, Cowboys and all. Now if they would get their deacons to quit smoking on the front steps of the church, then maybe people could find their way into the building. A cheap shot, but worth taking. Hate it when that happens. Fighting cancer lowers your tolerance for people who blow smoke in your face.

Thank God, Joseph did not respond to God's work in his life with, "What now?!" or "Why me?!" He woke up, got up and loaded up for Egypt. God's plan for my life is rarely convenient with the plans or agenda that I have painstakingly outlined for Him to follow. God's will is filled with divine appointments, inspired interruptions, and holy Ah-Ha's that cause me to flinch with resentment when I can see the "What" but don't understand the "Why."

It comforts me to know that Mary and Joseph weathered some of the same stormy, sanctified surprises that come my way. Packing up and leaving Bethlehem may have been inconvenient, but it moved them out of the line of fire of a king who had sold his soul to the devil.

The next time God interrupts my plans with "What" He has in mind, I am going to try to and hold my tongue, and not ask "Why?" There is nothing wrong with asking God to help you make sense out of what He tells you to do. The danger is in the delay. Henry Blackaby has taught, "Delayed obedience is still disobedience. " In the case of Mary, Joseph and Jesus it would have been disastrous.

Thank you Joseph for being the kind of man God could trust to obey "What" He said the first time you heard it, and not wait for "Why?" to be explained. Jesus was meant to die on the cross for our sins, and not be slaughtered by a paranoid tyrant. Timing is everything in being in sync with the will of God. Jesus would die, but He would die for the purpose God had sent Him to achieve, the redemption of the world.

When you hear God tell you "What", don't respond with "What in the World?" Take a deep breath and drive into the smoke. 'Why?" because it is HOLY SMOKE!