What strikes me the most in this text is the faithfulness of Joseph. At the urging of an angel who appeared to him in a dream he took his family in the middle of the night and fled to Egypt to protect them from the threat of Herod. That actually sounds pretty logical to me. I know there is the whole bit about how it fulfilled a prophecy, but I know if my family was being threatened in such a way we would high-tail it out of wherever we were in the middle of the night too. We would go to the place furthest away from the threat. So, running away (while following instructions) didn't really require much faith… just a good dose of fear. Joseph's faithfulness, I think however, comes in following the command to return to Israel. The threat of Herod is gone, but Archelaus (Herod's son) was now in power, and that seemed to be just as bad (or worse). But Joseph, faithful to God and God's command, brought his family back to Israel despite the threat. It wasn't like they setup their house on Archelaus' doorstep… they went to Nazareth, but still Joseph likely knew that they were walking into difficult days by returning home. I think sometimes I get it in my head that following God (and the promise of abundant life) is my ticket to a life free from difficulty. I know this isn't true, but sometimes I get stuck there, and when things aren't all easy and good I start asking, "Why God?" The truth is, however, sometimes following God leads us into places and situations that we would never dream of going on our own… but that's just it! We are not on our own! I'm sure Joseph was not free from any kind of fear or anxiety about taking his family back to Israel, but I think he was able to do it because he knew that he would not be left to face the threats and danger by himself. God was calling… God was leading… God was with them… God is good. The same is true for us.
Where am I afraid to go? What is God calling me to that I am resisting out of fear? God, give me faith like Joseph to follow where you lead… trusting that you are with me and trusting that you are good.