Mary awoke suddenly from her dream, she reached over to where Jesus was with her heart pounding. She held her breath as she leaned over and then gave a huge sigh of relief, He was ok. She looked around the room and outside the window, all was quiet.
As her breath steadied Mary wondered what the awful dream was about? Why was her heart racing? She grabbed her shawl and sat staring at Jesus. Mary allowed the horrible images to fill her mind and the terrifying sounds to fill her ears. She recalled watching mothers have their sons ripped from their arms and slaughtered. She had heard the screams of grief as if the horrific events were happening right there in the room. What did the awful dream mean? Was it a warning? She had heard rumours that the merciless King Herod was out to destroy her precious child. Was there truth to those words? Was the terrifying dream based on the history that had transpired in the time of Moses, or was it a premonition of events to unfold. Mary took a few deep breaths, surely Herod’s insanity wouldn’t extend to those levels? If so how could Joseph protect them? What could they do?
Mary decided the best action was to pray, she reached a hand out towards Joseph and the other towards Jesus. She prayed for protection and for the cloud of fear to lift. She reminded God that He alone had given her this precious child to love, guard and watch grow. She cried out and desperately pleaded for God to send His mighty angels to protect them. She cried out for wisdom and direction knowing that they needed to keep Jesus safe at all cost!
As she prayed it felt as if the whole room was shrouded in fear, Mary softly sang one of her favourite psalms that David had written when Saul had set an ambush for him:
Oh my mighty God, protect me! Keep me safe from all my enemies, for they’re coming to kill me. Put me in a high place out of their reach, lift me up to a place so high that these assassins will never find me. Save me from these murdering men, these bloodthirsty killers. See how they set an ambush for my life. They’re fierce men ready to launch their attack against me.
O Lord I’m innocent, please protect me! I’ve done nothing to deserve this, yet they are already plotting together to kill me. Arise, Lord, see what they’re scheming and come and meet with me. Awaken, O God of Israel! Commander of Angel Armies, arise to punish these treacherous people who oppose you! Don’t go soft on these hardcase killers!
Lord, I pause in Your Presence.
Please act for in the dark they came to spy, sneaking around the city; I hear them snarling, prowling like a pack of stray dogs in the night; see how they boil over with rage, shouting out their curses, convinced that they’ll never get caught.
But I know You Lord and I hear You break out laughing at their plans, amused by their arrogance, scoffing at their sinful ways.
Praise You Lord, for my strength is found when I wait upon you.
Watch over me, God, for You’re my mountain fortress; You set me on high!
The God of passionate love will meet with me; my God will empower me to rise in triumph over my foes. Lord I beg, don’t just kill them but stagger them all with a vivid display of power. I long to see them scattered by Your armies of angels, O mighty God, our protector! Use Your awesome power to make them wanderers and vagabonds and then bring them down. They are nothing but proud, cursing liars; they sin in every word they speak, boasting in their blasphemies!
Pour out Your wrath and destroy them; finish them off! Make an end of them and their deeds until they are no more! Let them all know and learn that God is the ruler over Jacob, the God-King over all the earth!
Lord, I pause in Your Presence.
Hear my cry, for here they come again. I can hear them prowling, growling like a pack of stray dogs in the city. I hear them drifting, devouring, and coming in for the kill, they refuse to sleep until they’ve eaten their fill.
But as for me, Lord Your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise You’ll hear my lyrics raising to Your ear. I will sing forevermore of You great love until it completely fills the air!
Oh how wonderful You are, glory-fortress, such a sweet stronghold in my day of distress.
O my Lord of Strength, I sing with joy Your praises.
O my mighty Stronghold, I sing with joy Your song!
O my powerful Saviour, I sing with joy the lyrics of Your faithful love for me!
(Psalms 59:1-17 TPT paraphrased)
Mary must have fallen asleep somewhere in her desperate prayers for although it was still dark Joseph was gently shaking her.
‘Mary, wake up. We must leave right now.’
Mary’s heart leapt with terror, ‘Is it happening? Are children being slaughtered? Are we in danger?’
Joseph looked at her with confusion, ‘I’m not sure what you think is happening but I’ve been told that we need to go. Did you see the angel also?’
‘No, I just had a vivid horrible dream that children were being killed. Oh Joseph it was awful.’
‘We can talk more on the way. We need to leave RIGHT NOW. Even before the sun rises.’
Mary quickly got up and started packing and dressing. ‘If you can load the donkey and leave room for me, I can attend to Jesus on the way out of town. If He’s feeding He will stay quiet.’
Joseph nodded and quickly packed up their things. With all the wonderful new gifts they had received they would need 2 donkeys now, Joseph counted out money for a second donkey and quickly scrawled out a note of thanks. Mary was sad that she could not properly thank Rufus and Merry but understood Joseph’s haste. They packed quickly and quietly as Jesus slept soundly seemingly unaware of the frantic activity happening all around Him.
When Mary was ready to grab Jesus and go, Joseph gave her a quick hug and guided her out the door.
Joseph quickly loaded the donkeys and they found themselves on the very outskirts of town just as dawn broke. Seeing a sheltered place to stop and recheck everything, Joseph guided the donkeys towards the shelter. Mary was grateful for the break and placed Jesus down on her shawl to give her arms and shoulders a much needed rest. She hadn’t realized how tensely she had been sitting.
Joseph took a few moments to gather a small breakfast for them and they ate in silence. The only sound was the birds welcoming in the sun and Jesus’ contented cooing. Mary decided she had better find out what the plan was, ‘so where are we going? Do you know?’.
‘Not exactly. All the angel said was to head to Egypt because King Herod was going to search for Jesus and kill Him.’
Mary gasped. Maybe her dream had been a prophetic warning? ‘Oh Joseph, this really wasn’t the life we had dreamt about was it?’
Joseph smiled ‘no, but God has chosen us to do this and I’m sure He will help us. I think I can find work there. I’ve heard about one particular town that would be remote but large enough for me to find work. I think we will go there first.’
‘Sounds good. We should get moving.’
Joseph quickly watered the donkeys while Mary bundled Jesus back up. They set off towards Egypt trying to process the reality of parenting the Messiah.
“Out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1