“Hastes’ natural outcome is a waste” – Osita Kingsley (Author of Singles’ Tablet)
How long do you think baby Jesus and the entire Josephs stay in the sheep pen? This question could sound strange to some folks and might salivate the curiosity of others. However, it’s OK to feel awkward about the question and your answer to the unpopular question might be different from mine, our differences just reflect this fact: We all look but see differently.
Personally, I believe the Josephs(Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus) dwelled in the locale where JESUS’ birth took place for at least 2-3years . However, before you replace my first name with heresiarch ,let me quickly buttress my point with these few points :
· According to Saint Matthew’s account, it took the wise men about two years between King Herod’s Palace and the place of JESUS’ birth.
Matthew 2:16 KJV
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
· Secondly, when the wise men got to the king, Jesus was a baby. In fact, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in the manger. But when the wise men finally met him, he was already a ‘big boy’ no longer baby. In fact, he was addressed as a young child. He was not longer baby wrapped in clothes but a young child probably playing with his dad’s hammer and carpentry tools.
Grammatically, child is not a synonyms for baby. Infant is closer!
Matthew 2:11 KJV
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
[I think Daniel’s (my friend) calculation is more accurate on this matter; He feels, they spent like 4 years right there. According to him, it took two (2) years for the men to move from the east (where they saw the stars) to Herod’s Palace and from the palace to the Pen took them another 2 years].
Daniel and I both agreed, they lived there for a while so I feel it’s safe to flow with that trail of thought. Whatever we agree upon in earth is established in heaven and out of two or three mouths the truth shall be established.
This is not a debate session and I am not trying to replace your Bible study teacher (if you have one). I just want to share my thoughts about this eventful event, and I hope it makes sense to you.
Patiently, the JOSEPHS underwent the harshness and crude environmental conditions in the sheep pen, perhaps, they were lucky enough to be bestowed one of the Shepherd’s Chambers, even at that, I doubt if the best cottage in the Shepherd’s ghetto would be comfortable enough for a CEO of probably one of the biggest carpentry company in the Nazareth; I once had a rare privilege to visit a cattle’s pen in a Fulani community in Northern Nigerian with my grandmother and I am sure only Shepherds were designed and wired to breathe freely in such a gunk environment.
I believe they could afford to relocate to any part of the city but they decided to stay in there until they received instructions from God. They understood how sacred the baby was, so hearing from God before taking any decision was non-negotiable. (When we understand the divinity of our vision and dreams, waiting for the Lord’s leading before taking decision comes easily) .
What if Joseph had stepped out of the sheep’s pen just to feel a bit comfortable or proved to people, he could afford a mansion for his new family.
These are the likely outcomes, I think, if they had exited the pen prematurely :
1. They would have missed the wise men and the gifts : The wise men’s persistence and sacrifice would had been futile. Their determination to locate Jesus would have been a total waste. Instead of seeing Jesus they would have been drown in the sea of confusion and frustration.
Imagine after 2-4 years of journey, they met the place void of human beings but sheep and filthy-looking Shepherds . The craziest thing in the world is when your let go of your families, friends even businesses just to meet the wall of disappointment. If they had lost the encounter with baby Jesus, they might eternally doubt the leading of the stars . That would probably weaken their faith in God.
Premature exit will not only cost you but also going to hurt the innocent lives planted in your path in life .
One of my ‘friends’ who pastors a group of people once narrated his ordeal to me about how he resigned from his banking job because his boss was frustrating him and he believed he had so much business ideas that could yield him millions even in one year. He shared his beautiful ideas with me and how far he had gone in the execution. Honestly, the whole concept left my mouth agape. I was thrilled . I asked if he regretted his resignation, he sighed “Tunji, I got the timing wrong and I am paying heavily for it right now”. He continued “I thought it was God leading me to resign but it was my pride and ignorance.” It’s was obvious, he did not wait for his wise men so lost his gold, frankincense and myrrh. So he would have to break sweats, toil and hustle for what was supposed to be a gift to him.
2.They would have turned victims of King Herod’s wickedness: The king religiously scouted the infant king who seems to pose a serious threat to his throne and descendants. The King’s agents were on a lookout for the baby Jesus. I am sure they had visited all the mansions and apartments that looked more like a place where such a special baby could be nurtured. Trust me, Shepherd’s ghetto would be the last option on any rational mind.
Imagine if Joseph had yielded to his pride and acquired a mansion that suits his new family as expected by the society, what would have been our hope right now? Thank God, Joseph chose to endure the stinky environment even as he remained committed to trusting God as a man of unwavering faith.
I have spoken with many elderly Christian folks who were unashamed to share with me their myriads of mistakes in this area – Most of them had missed their wise men, lost their gifts and some lost their babies to Herod. They jumped into marital boats because they bowed to societal pressure at the seashore and ended up in life imprisonment labeled as marriage. One of my mentors once told me about how his lofty idea was hijacked by a certain King Herod simply because he jumped on the idea at the wrong time.
Finally my beloved, Rushing in is as dangerous as rushing out. Don’t rush into that opportunity , don’t rush out of that marriage or relationship. The only person who determines the perfect timing is the Holy Spirit. He will always lead us if we permit him. Spiritual maturity is determined by how much you follow the instructions of the Spirit. I encourage you to follow the leading of the Spirit in 2017.Wait for your wise men, wait for your gifts and don’t play into Herod’s Hand.
Let me know what you think by dropping a comment below and don’t hesitate to share with your tribes if you agree with me.