“But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Rise, take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.'” Matthew 2:19-20
Well, what does Jesus coming back out of Egypt have to do with me? What does that have to do with how You, Lord, sent Jesus, and how He is sending me? Do these things actually relate? If so, how? How can this verse, how can these words apply to me more than just as facts to know?
Maybe, just maybe, Your individual words, Lord, mean more than we understand and know at first glance. Maybe, just maybe, it would be of immense value to us if we just took the time to meditate on the value of what You say. That’s what I want to take time to do each day. So, today, I want to look at the value of You calling Your Son out of Egypt and it’s significance on me and my calling.
I know this is important stuff because Matthew references it’s prophetic importance when he quotes, “Out of Egypt I called my son,” in chapter 2, verse 15. Yes, I know that’s important information because I can find it’s direct quote, the very words spoken in Hosea 11:1- “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
“Out of Egypt I called my son.” Let’s focus on that word “called” in Hebrew. It’s “qara” and it’s important to understand. Jeremiah 33:3 uses it also when he says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.” By the way, Jeremiah was the one that prophesied about the children being wept over, about Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they were no more. So if You, Lord, privileged these men with knowing Your future plans, as well as Your present plans for them, then maybe Your desire is to include us in a lot more than we feel included in.
See, that word “qara,” like when You called Jesus out of Egypt, or when You tell Your people to call to You, it’s not just about You just talking or us just crying out. It’s not like Mom calling us in for dinner or us calling out to Mom because we’re in a bind. Skip Moen expresses “qara” this way, “it implies a specific request of a specific person with a specific expectation for a specific answer…This is about asking someone in particular for a ‘right-to-the-point’ solution.”
God had a specific expectation for Jesus and for Joseph and for Mary. He called them out of Egypt. There was a specific answer. They heard the request and they came out. But here’s the thing that Jeremiah wants us to see. I am called out to call back on You, Lord. As specific as You are with me, I am called to be specific with You. You want me to tell my requests to You directly. You want me to expect You to answer. Why? Because it’s the example You set in Yourself and because You command it. This is what our relationship should be like. This isn’t a general suggestion. This is how life with God and life in God in Jesus Christ works and this is the only way it works.
If I hop ahead to Matthew 3, I find Jesus asking John the Baptist to baptize Him. Can you imagine Jesus coming to you and asking you to baptize Him?! And John refuses at first. But Jesus’ answer was, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” And John consented. See, Jesus is God, but He is also our example. He set the example of righteousness for us and even though He was holy, even though He was God, even though He had never sinned, even though He had never been the enemy of God, He asked to be baptized. Why? Because He was called by God to a specific purpose, and this was part of that purpose, to make the way and to show us the way and to be the way to God.
Now, if Jesus could step outside of His pride and be baptized regardless of who He was just because God had called Him to it and for it, what about me? Do I just answer Your call when I get around to it? Do I just seek You and Your will by calling out to You when I get around to it? So, am I listening to Your specifics as Jesus did and obeying? Am I asking You about specifics and expecting Your answer like Jesus did? Because when You say You will answer, You mean it. You will answer.
I look at Jesus’ life. He wasn’t some mystical guru. He knew You, Lord. He knew Your word. He knew Your promises. And He called out to You specifically on them. And He expected You to answer and follow through on those promises, to answer according to who You are, always. He knew that when He asked specifically that which was on Your heart, He would absolutely be able to expect it, that You would be ready and willing to answer Him. Remember how Jesus was our example setter? That means I can expect the same. Why? Because just as the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends me. He’s not going to send me unprepared or ill-equipped into the world. I just have to understand my calling as He did. I just have to call out like He did.
But I think that Skip hit it on the head here. Because here is what he says our problem is. “The truth is that we don’t value what God says. Oh, we say we believe it. People say what they believe, but they do what they value. We don’t call on God for every single specific thing in life because we do not value His direct and specific answers. We would rather work it out ourselves. After all, if we ask for His answer and He gives it to us, we might not like what He says. We think it is so much better to leave God out and make life fit our own desires. So we use the excuse that He’s too busy (I’m too busy) or that we don’t hear Him (I’m not listening) or that He has decided to wait before He responds (I don’t like the answer I’m getting).” What do you think?
See, just like You, Lord, called Jesus out of Egypt for a purpose and specifically, so You have called me. You know my name and You know all the specifics about me. And You are calling me to what You have created me for in Your plan in this world and in eternity. But part of my calling is learning to call on You. I must learn who You are. I must learn how to specifically call to You those things that are on Your heart. My behavior has to start resembling You. I must value Your heart above my own. I must value You above everything. That includes valuing Your promise to answer. That includes valuing my expectations for You to answer. That includes the value I put in my readiness to obey You when You answer. And here’s the thing. Sometimes, the things we are asking about, are already answered in Your words. Do I value Your words enough to obey them just as they are? Am I waiting for a special word to come from You when I’ve already been given the special words I need right here in Your very Word?
I have been called out of Egypt in a sense just like You were, Jesus. I’ve been called for a specific purpose in You. You were sent to a world for a specific purpose, to point us to God and to demonstrate what a life trusting and abiding in God looked like and acted like. And that’s what I’ve been called to, to that same kind of life in You. You alone call and You alone send. Revelation 17:14 calls Your own “called, and chosen, and faithful.” Why? Because that’s what You are, Lord. And if we are in You, that’s what and Who we ought to resemble. There are a lot of answers I don’t have to wait on because You’ve already given them. I know them. But do I want to acknowlege I know them? Is this the attitude I have, like You Jesus, before Lazarus’ tomb? “Father, I thank You that You have heard me. And I knew that You hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent me.” Am I that kind of example? If not, why not?