The Obedient Husband
I had just received a rejection letter from a job that I really wanted—a job I thought the Lord wanted for me. This made me angry, and to make matters worse the next morning I had to go and serve on a committee to help the organization that had rejected me. There were even committee members who were part of the group who sent me the rejection letter. Now I preach grace, but this was a time for fairness and personal justice. Or was it?
Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, unlike Mary, doesn't get any role in Jesus' adult life, but in Matthew's infancy narrative he plays the role of a sterling character—a righteous man who doesn't act hastily in anger when he discovers his fiancée’s pregnancy by someone else, and a man who is open to receiving a message from God that a miracle had happened in her womb. The tough part came when he woke up from the angelic dream. Would he obey or not?
Marrying Mary would mean that for the rest of his life he would hear rumors about his immorality or his wife's immorality, and slurs against his son. He was a good Jew, the Law was important, but the essence of the Law was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and this meant to obey. So before Matthew goes on to tell us what happened between King Herod and the wise men from the East, Matthew writes,
"When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not know her until she gave birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." (Matthew 1:24-25)
Joseph models for me obedience. So I went to that committee meeting and allowed the Holy Spirit to help me to be part of that team that advanced Jesus' Kingdom of mercy and grace, instead of my kingdom of personal justice and wrath. And years later as I look back at not getting that job that I wanted so strongly, I recognize that God knew my gifts and desires far better than I. The job would have been a terrible fit for me and for the organization.
LORD, the celebration of Jesus' birth and listening to hIs entire redemptive story in your Word can't end at midnight on Christmas Day. Use Truth Encounter as we move into 2018 by the power of Your Spirit to not only track Your redemptive story but to obey it.
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