One thing that struck me from Deuteronomy was this verse:
When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Note that it doesn’t say you “should not be afraid” but rather “you shall not be afraid”. Why? Because they knew that God was the one who brought them up out of Egypt. This would jog their memory of all the awesome works which that entailed. Truly, Israel had first hand knowledge of God. A God who had proven he was a match for any world power. How could they not trust in him? Yet, like us, they had an amazing capacity to lack trust in their God.
Matthew records for us the early years of Jesus on earth. The dark character in this chapter is Herod.
We saw back in verse 7 that Herod had tried to manipulate the visitor’s from the east into revealing the location of the new king when they found him. When this plan was foiled, the insecure despot ordered the murder of all boys under the age of 2 in an attempt to secure his own kingship.
Although God allowed Herod to exercise his power in this evil way, he would not allow him to interfere with Jesus’ rescue mission for humanity. So Jesus is protected with his family in Egypt until Herod’s death after which time they returned to settle in the town of Nazareth. And so, although the messiah was born in Bethlehem as prophesied, he would be known as a Nazarene.
As we have some quiet time to reflect after Christmas, let’s be thankful that God took such an interest in humanity that he sent his son into this broken world. Born to live among us so that he might die for us.