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Matthew 2:13-23 “Cutting Through the Clutter to Find God” JUMC 20131229

mansleeping
Now after they had left, 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 about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and 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 have called my son.” When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:  “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly 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 seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.” [NRSV]

Joseph and his dreams

  • OT: It is Jacob’s son, Joseph who has visions and dreams where God is revealed to him even as a child.
  • His dream that the shafts of wheat would bow down to him offended his brothers who sold him into slavery.
  • While imprisoned, Joseph becomes known as one who interprets dreams as God’s messages. Later he is called on to explain Pharaoh’s dreams and describes how they will have abundant years followed by lean years. Pharaoh placed Joseph as is second-in-charge to prepare for the years of famine.
  • During the drought, Joseph’s brothers journey to Egypt and to Joseph’s court asking for food to feed their family. After some testing, he reveals himself to his brothers that enslaved him who bow before him. His dream is revealed over the span of his life.
  • NT: Now Mary’s husband, and Jesus’s foster parent, our Joseph from today’s text continues the experience of God speaking through dreams.
  • God sends an angel to comfort and assure Joe when Mary becomes pregnant.
  • God speaks in a dream warning Joseph to leave town and avoid Herod and his plot to kill the baby Jesus.
  • God uses Joe’s dreams to direct him to live in Egypt. (Note the geography similarity to Jacob’s Joseph in Genesis.)
  • God speaks in a dream to call Joseph to return to Israel and leave the far country to return home.
  • God uses Joe’s dream to direct him away from Herod’s son and to live in Galilee region in the city of Nazareth.

Does Joseph Sleeps Alot?

  • I don’t think he slept too much, but it seems that is the time that Joseph was most receptive of God’s word and direction.
  • It is rare that God speaks through thundering clouds and a voice from heaven rubbles down.
  • It is more common that God speaks through other people, through music, through art, and through creation itself.
  • Not everyone pays attention during the sermon: ref. “Best Sleep I get all Week..”
  • Not everyone enjoys singing or pays attention to the words.
  • Not everyone is patient enough to listen after exhausting our list of petitions in prayer.
  • Some folk are too busy at work, at school or even in their own homes.

Joseph is one of those who God found his attention when everything else was laid to rest.

Where and When is God Most Likely to Speak to You?

Just as we might hope and expect to find presents under a Christmas Tree, we hope and expect to find God when we are a church. Gathered with God’s people doing good and right service, witness and worship. But there are times that we are too preoccupied with something else even when we are in the “God Zone.”

The original intention of Sabbath as a day of rest was not simply to cease working. It is a vacation from our vocation. A clearing of the table that cluttered with junk and find the level foundation where we can begin afresh.

As we continue in this season of Christmas, carve out time to be silent, open and patient for God.

It might be easier now that most of the holiday festivities are behind us. Possibly now is a better time to find Christ born anew than at the reenactment of the nativity.

The shepherds took a bigger than broadway production to get their attention.

The wise men looked to distant star and calculations and a map.

Marry and Joseph had their sleep interrupted.

Have you ever had trouble falling asleep or going back to sleep after waking up?

It seems that is my every-night struggle.

Rather than fight it, take that time listen for God.

Prayer journaling, FB chatting  (you’d be surprised who is up ready to pray with you), read the Psalms (That will put you to sleep for sure..lol) Just ask God to speak. Be quiet and listen.

No matter the time of day or night, we can sleep and work right through God’s message and guidance.

Out fears, worries, control, stubbornness and uncertainty can cloud our visions and keep us apart.

Turn the Christmas tree lights back on, light a candle (that you blow out before falling asleep), and pray for the Light of Word to Open your heart and mind.

Speak to us and give us ears to hear and hearts to trust and minds to believe.

Let us know what you hear from God.

Joseph did.. as we see how God protected, prepared, moved and shaped Joseph and his family throughout their lives. A pretty good example if you ask.

Merry Christmas.. See you next Sunday.. it will still be Christmas then too.

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