Joseph’s Choice

“But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)

Has God ever told you something so preposterous that your only thought is, not in this lifetime?  What? No. Thank you, No. Did I say no? God never calls us to do the easy thing. The convenient thing. The practical, sensible, acceptable thing. He challenges us to reach beyond the accepted process, accepted law, accepted norm to achieve something beyond our own ability.

Joseph was obedient to God’s voice. When given news that was not convenient or acceptable, Joseph chose to obey God’s voice.

We know very little about the lives of Mary and Joseph. God doesn’t always choose to give us the complete biography of all his people. Sometimes we only get the Readers Digest version.  The glimpses we see of Joseph speak well of him.

 Scripture doesn’t tell us when and where Mary broke the news of her pregnancy to Joseph. I think we can still understand the emotions that they were probably feeling. We don’t know how well Joseph even knew Mary before they were engaged.

 “Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.” (Matthew 1:19) Although he had the right to publicly humiliate Mary, he wanted to show mercy.

An angel appears to him in a dream, “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” When faced with a choice, Joseph believed.

Having an overactive imagination, I have no trouble imagining what the scene might have looked like when they broke the news to the family. Did they remember God’s prophecy about the virgin birth? Remembering a prophecy and believing it are not the same.

Were they shunned in the community? At temple? When Mary went to draw water, did her friends still acknowledge her? We don’t know. We aren’t told. The message God wants us to see in this story is what is most important in our own story. When God has given you His Word, He has given you His promise. The only important part of the story is your obedience. Your belief. Choosing comfort, choosing safe, choosing easy is never about choosing Him.

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