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. 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.
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. 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.”
All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d](which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Mary, she’s a lovely girl; so pure, committed, gentle, innocent. What more could a man ask for? But .. Why? What made her do it and ruin it all? She doesn’t even look ashamed of what she’s done. I can’t bring her home now, the disgrace – the shame – what are people going to say? She’s abused my trust! She’s shamed her own house. But I love her, I can’t abandon her to the mob. I’ve checked up and I’m sure a quiet divorce is possible. I need to sleep I’ll finalise things in the morning … “Joseph son of David Be calm don’t worry everything is in God’s hands. Mary hasn’t shamed you she has honoured you and brought the promised blessing to your family. The Holy Spirit gave her this child but you must accept him and name him Jesus – because he will save his people from their sins” I thought it was a ruin but now I see it was the foundation, the foundation of something so much better. I don’t think we’ve had a Jesus in the family before!
Matthew 1 reveals Joseph’s concern for God’s will in his own life. Joseph’s experience may have similarity to ours: Real expectations of God working. Followed by disappointment in how things are working out. … then, wham, the realisation that God is still in control and doing something new and miraculous. All this leads to obedience. No matter what his feelings were or the prevailing circumstance, Joseph had to take steps of faith and be obedient to God. If he didn’t, God’s promise would not have come. Being obedient to God, was and is costly, but when Jesus comes, it’s all worth it.
May I suggest there are a number of things that could help us in being obedient to God:
Determine before you reach a challenging time, to go God’s way. Allow God to be the controlling influence in your life rather than the prevailing circumstances. Practice ‘active listening’ – taking time to seek and allow God to speak to you. Trust God’s Word and take one step of obedience and faith at a time without trying to see or understand the whole picture. Expect that God would do the unexpected.
Michael Card wrote a song entitled ‘Joseph’s Song’ regarding Joseph’s obedience:
Lord I know He’s not my own. Not of my flesh, not of my bone.
Still Father, let this baby be, The Son of my love.
Father show me where I fit into this plan of Yours.
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord, for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter.
How can I raise a King? How can I raise a King?
Dear Lord, I choose to follow your way rather than my own. I want to be obedient to you in every area of my life. Help me to look to you rather than my circumstance to determine what I do today and the decisions I make. Give me courage to take one step of obedience and faith at a time. In Jesus name. Amen.