Do you ever feel like your world is out of control and there is nothing you can do, but sit back and take it as it comes? Are you overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness that you are destined to be on the struggle bus and nothing will ever change? Feel like you never get the breaks?
I often feel like that at drawings, the person right before me or after me always wins, but never me. I’m close, but never the right number!
I want to encourage you out of a familiar story. Side note: it’s only 355 days until Christmas so obviously it’s not too soon to bust out the Christmas story, right?
Look at Matthew 2:10 in the Message translation.
"They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!"
What an encouragement to all of us. The Magi when they walked in obedience found themselves in exactly the right place at the right time.
This chapter is such a great example that God is in control of the world and each of our lives.
We find 3, and I can make an argument that there are 4, prophecies that were previously recorded that are fulfilled in this passage.
Look in verse 1 describing the Magi who first saw the star and were on the look out for the coming King. Their knowledge of the coming King goes all the way back to Jewish people’s time in captivity in the East. Maybe even through Daniel himself. He would have taught and trained the wise men of that day, and the information and knowledge gained during the season of Jewish captivity in Israel’s history is now, here in Matthew, used to further announce the coming Messiah, and provide providentially for an escape to Egypt when the Messiah’s life was threatened. Think about that. Hundreds of years before this moment God put a rescue plan in process to deliver Jesus. All orchestrated by a group of obedient people. Even out of a dark time in the Israelite's history God still uses it to advance his Kingdom.
Next let's look at verse 6, which is a restatement of a prophecy found in Micah 5:2.
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
In this passage of scripture God tells where and when Jesus would be born. Side note - it is a city that Mary and Joseph did not live in. Think about that. God pre-told the city and orchestrated the setting to have this couple arrive at the exact moment Jesus was set to be born. Even now with all of our modern technology used after conception, we still cannot know exactly when a baby will come. Yet God orchestrated this exactly for this moment and place. Another confirmation that God is in control.
As the chapter concludes, we see 3 more prophecies that are told with exactness.
Verse 15: ‘Out of Egypt I will call my Son,”
Verse 18 shares Jeremiah’s prophecy telling of the wailing of Bethlehem after the murder of the babies
And then verse 23 tells of Jesus being called a Nazarene possibly from Isaiah 11:1.
One significant observation though is that each one of these moments was first proceeded by steps of obedience.
Joseph took Mary to be his wife, thus meaning he must take her to Bethlehem for the census, The magi traveling to follow the star to worship the King, but more importantly returning home another way like the dream had warned. Joseph’s obedience to, in the middle of the night, get his family out Bethlehem and go to Egypt, and again to settle in Nazareth.
You see, each time someone walked in obedience it placed them in the place God wanted and needed them.
Each one further illustrates that God is in control of the world. Even though if may feel like things are spiraling wildly, we see from this story that when we walk in obedience to what God says then, just like the Magi, we will always be in the right place at exactly the right time.