Monday, November 28, 2011

Joseph's Obedience

Since Christmas is less than a month away I wanted to go ahead and get my heart in the right place. It’s so easy to get distracted with all the shopping to get done. It seems like December is the busiest month of the year. For me it means not only the Christmas shopping, but my husband’s birthday, and finals. And, this year it means just a few more weeks until baby Goodwin should arrive.
I don’t want to get caught up in all the meaningless parts of the month, when the true focus should be celebrating Christ’s birth, and the ultimate gift: His death. So, for the remainder of November and all of December I will focus on a different part of the Christmas story.
In Matthew 1 we learn that Joseph had to adopt Christ as his own.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Sometimes God asks us to do things we don’t want to do. Actually, it seems that He asks us to make difficult choices much more often than easy ones. To say Joseph’s choice was difficult is more than an understatement. He was highly respected in his community. He was known as a Godly man, and all of a sudden his fiancée is pregnant.
Joseph had the right to have Mary killed. If he didn’t have her stoned, it probably appeared as though he was the father of her child. No one was going to believe Mary and Joseph hadn’t shared a marital bed. How was he supposed to prove she was a virgin?
His love for Mary showed, since he didn’t have her punished. Since an angel had to appear to him to convince him to stay with her, I strongly doubt he even partially believed she was carrying the Messiah. I can’t imagine the jealousy he experienced as he suspected his fiancée had an affair.
But, the moment he woke up after the angel appeared to him, he obeyed God. I wish I would be so quickly obedient. Yes, he did have a heavenly being actually appear to him to further his belief, and I am sure the appearance of an angel would quicken my obedience. But, I shouldn’t need that sort of encouragement. I love my God, and when He asks me to do something I should do it, without hesitation.
Lord, help me be more like Mary and Joseph. Help me be obedient to Your will. Allow me to remember that I don’t have to understand why or how something will happen; I just need to trust You and act in accordance to Your will. Thank you for this season when we can focus on the gift of Your son, and our salvation. Amen.

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