Did you ever think about what kind of a person Joseph was? Mary, the mother of Jesus, was pledged to be married to Joseph. How he handled learning that his wife was with child before they had been together is pretty remarkable.
As was customary for Hebrews, once the parents negotiated the marriage, they were considered married, but continued to separately live with their own parents for a year. This waiting period served to demonstrate faithfulness of the pledge of purity given concerning the bride.
What went through Joseph’s mind when he heard that Mary was with child? The marriage could have been annulled. Joseph had to feel betrayed, hurt, ashamed. As our pastor said, don’t “churchify” Joseph. He was human. A man. None of this was his plan at all. None of it was turning out the way he’d pictured.
By Hebrew law (Old Testament law) Joseph could have stoned Mary to death for her betrayal. He could have walked away, but he planned to divorce her quietly. He probably took a lot of ridicule from his buddies, criticism from many people. But he loved her and didn’t want to hurt her. He had dreams and plans for their future together.
After Joseph considered divorcing Mary quietly, an angel of the Lord visited him in a dream. The angel told him that the child conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. She would give birth to a son and they were to name him Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins.
This was something Joseph gave thought about. It wasn’t his plan, but this is what God had planned. How do you feel when God’s plan drops a bomb like this? It’s not always something we’re happy about. Maybe you’ve bull headed your way past God’s will to put in action your plan. How’s that working out for you? It’s time like these that we need to take a step back and pray. Let God guide us to where he wants us to be. These quiet times with God are when we can hear him the clearest. No yelling or screaming to divert our attention.
Throughout history, the Hebrews repeated a cycle of trusting God, walking away from God, serving other gods or idols, and when things got so bad, they called out to Him to save them. Time after time, he saved them.
When nothing makes sense is when we need to most trust God. Satan will do whatever he can to devalue us. He wants us to lash out at God; feel that God doesn’t love us. But what does God do in response? He sends us Christ.
But in the New Testament, God teaches us about grace. Being obedient and trusting in God when nothing makes sense is what faith is all about. And we know that even when we fall, He will be there to pick us up.
When the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph, what did he call him? He called him son of David, a reference to the lineage of David the king.
When we look at Joseph, we see someone who is faithful, obedient and pure of heart. He sees God and follows God’s plan even though it is not his own plan. Obedient to the point of trusting that this was the right thing to do.
Even though we may strive to live like Jesus, but we are human. This may not become a reality. But, we can be like Joseph.
I hope this Christmas season, you are able to see the way God is working in your life. That you are obedient to the path he has laid out for you even though it may not be the future you had planned. He has given us the greatest gift of all!