The Obedience of Joseph

mary-inn-turned-awayMatthew 1:18-25 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.   Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

There is a lot of familiarity to the Christmas story especially for those of us who have heard it as children until now. However, I try every year to look at the story of Christ’s birth through fresh eyes so that I might learn something from our Lord’s blessed incarnation.  I have spent time this Christmas season considering again the blessing of an obedient servant of the Lord who followed the Lord’s direction and did exactly as he was told by the angel of the Lord.  Joseph was in a difficult situation when Mary was found to be with child.  She was to be his chaste bride, and now she was with child.  I am sure that people were talking about her and how she had disgraced Joseph, but being an honorable man, Joseph did everything he could to shield her from the criticism of their society.  He was not hasty in how he dealt with the situation.  Rather, he spent time thinking and most likely praying for direction which he received in a dream.  He listened to the angel of the Lord, obeyed His direction, and did exactly as he was told.  Joseph probably did not understand all the ramifications of the task for which he had been chosen by God, but that did not stop him from being obedient and fulfilling his part of God’s plan for His Son to be born of a virgin.

Our sovereign God often directs our lives down paths that are difficult and sometimes even seemingly impossible. But He never leaves us without instruction.  All we have to do is listen to Him as He speaks to us through His Word and obey His direction by doing exactly what He tells us to do.  We don’t have to understand all that is going on and what it all means.  We just have to obey so that God can work His sovereign will for our lives.   Only God knows how important your obedience is to His sovereign will today.  As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, may we remember the obedience of Joseph and follow his example.

Merry Christmas!


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