Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Bad Place Isn't Always Bad

Add caption
Egypt.  When I hear the name I think of pyramids, pharaohs, King Tut and slavery.  I think of 10 plagues, the Nile, the Islamic Brotherhood, and the Sinai Peninsula.  From the Biblical narrative it was a place not to go.  The freed slaves wanted to return to their leeks and melons.  A few Israeli kings wanted to go there to get horses or help in times of war.  But God said not to go there.  It was a bad place.

But then I remember that God sent Joseph ahead of his brothers into Egypt, taught him tremendous lessons about trust, and used him to spare the lives of his family.  Egypt was a place of isolation for him, but a place that God used for good. And today we read in the Christmas story that God used this foreboding place once again.  Here is the account in Matthew 2:

   When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  (Matthew 2:13-14)

The "they" were the Magi.  Baby Jesus needed a hide out, a place of escape.  So the bad place became a good place, for Herod would never look for Him there.  And the words of the prophet Hosea were applied not only to God calling His son, Israel, out of Egypt, but also His Son, Jesus, out of Egypt.

The good news for us today, especially for those of us in a bad place, is that bad places can be good places.  What makes a bad place a good place?  When God is there and His purposes are being fulfilled.  When we go to the bad places with our own goals and ideas in mind, they are BAD places for us.  But when we get to a bad place and cry out to the Lord or trust Him in it, He uses it for good.  Joseph learned that.  Both Joseph the son of Jacob, the one who became a Prime Minister and was used to spare his family; and Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, the Son of God, who watched the Heavenly Father protect His Son from harm.

So if you are in a bad place today, call to Him.  You may find yourself discovering its not so bad after all.  He makes all the difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment