And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:12)
Protection. God protected his Son throughout his entire life, until his time was right. We have our first indication of this truth in this verse.
The Wise Men had gone through Jerusalem. They had met Herod and been given direction by him, both on where to go and to return news of the child back to Herod. After their visit, before they left Bethlehem, they slept the night.
It wasn’t a good night’s sleep. After a day of tremendous joy they experienced warning in their hearts. During the night, just as the angel visited Joseph, so he visited the Wise Men in their sleep. He warned them of Herod. Herod didn’t desire to worship the child. They may or may not have known Herod’s plan, but they learned in their dreams that Herod was not to be trusted.
The child was chief in their thoughts as they set out for their journey home by a different route. These Wise Men listened to spiritual direction from God. God had led them to follow the star and right to the child named Jesus. God had not let them down before, and he would not let them down now.
God had planned all this to happen, and nothing thwarts God’s plans. Paul tells us that Jesus came at the right time: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law (Galatians 4:4). Mark says the same about the life of Jesus, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
Paul, again, makes the same point about Jesus’ death and its purpose: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6–8).
God’s plan of salvation and glory is never thwarted. God always accomplishes exactly what he plans to do. What an encouraging truth!