And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
These men had been led, by the ordinary exercise of their minds, on certain natural, if unusual, phenomena which they had observed in the heavens. But now they were led by special Divine intervention and direct Divine communications. This is the fact that seems to be suggestive. That very remarkable blending of the ordinary and the special, the natural and the miraculous, we find reappearing everywhere in the Divine dealings with men. A most interesting book might be made of illustrations of the strange limitations of the miracles. God will be found to work miracles when we can hardly see a pressing need for them, and to refrain from working miracles just where we think they would be most effective. Illustrate: Jacob takes every precaution against the anger of Esau, and God gives him supernatural strength. Israel knocks down the quails that fly low because of their weary flight over the sea; and gathers miraculous bread from heaven and water from smitten rocks. St. Paul raises the stunned, perhaps dead, Eutychus, but leaves Trophimus sick at Ephesus, to the chance of healing remedies. With these hints the Bible story will yield abundant instances, and we shall come to see that there is a method of Divine wisdom in this strange form of Divine dealings.
I. GOD NEVER SUPERSEDES MAN. In the sense of doing for man what man can do for himself. An idea may prevail that God may desire to make a show of his power, and so he may put man aside and seem to say, "Let me do it." But we need not think thus of God. Man's powers, in relation to man's sphere, are the Divine arrangement, and may be left to their free working. Let man think, observe, plan, and carry out as he can; in all the ten thousand things of life he will be left alone of God. No man need look for miracle. Its intervention can be in no human ordering; it depends on Divine omniscience and sovereignty. When the supernatural can wisely supersede the natural God alone can decide, and his decisions may well seem to us strange.
II. GOD EVER SUPPLEMENTS MAN. That is the place of miracle. In the Divine ides something is good for man, but either man is not ready enough, or skilful enough, or prompt enough to attain it, and therefore God graciously intervenes and supplements man's weakness. In connection with the text, Divine action came in because prompt action was necessary; there was no time for the ordinary human forces to work the right result in. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.