Live to fight another day. What does this phrase mean to you? For some, it’s cowardice and others, it is wisdom. The phrase originates with the actions of Demosthenes, a Greek orator who opposed Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. Demosthenes fled during a difficult battle and used this as a rebuttal when confronted. He lived another fifteen years and used his gifts of rhetoric to convince people to continue their opposition to autocratic societies. His style influenced many, including the Federalist Papers which preceded the US Constitution.
Demosthenes used words instead of swords to make lasting change.
Matthew’s story reveals some other quiet heroes who lived to fight another day. Please read all of chapter 2 for the full context. The magi, or wise men, they travelled from afar – facing dangerous terrain and potential ambush from land pirates – only to find a hostile regional leader in Herod. Did they stop? No, they stayed the course and kept looking for king Jesus.
We should not forget about Mary and Joseph either. Being asked to leave their home, traverse to Egypt and back again – under cover of night – to keep the baby Jesus safe. One might imagine they were constantly looking over their shoulders, living in fear and hiding – yet willing to do whatever it takes.
What do you do when faced with adversity?
Do you hide, or rush in – guns blazing? Matthew tells us that Joseph, Mary or the Magi fought smartly – quietly. I am sure God could have simply stopped Herod’s treachery without involving them at all. Somehow, I do not think it would have had the same effect. Maybe there’s a smarter way for us too.
Joseph, Mary and the Magi trusted guidance for their next steps.
Guidance may come in dreams like theirs – maybe not. Today, it might come from quiet times in prayer, reading Scripture and a willingness to ask for help from wise people you trust.
In closing, allow me to leave you with these interesting videos and a thought: Joseph, Mary and the Magi lived to fight another day while still laying it all on the line for Jesus!
Will you keep passionately looking for Jesus too?