Whose plan: ours or God’s?
He planned to divorce her quietly. What a good guy. He’s been told his fiancé, Mary, is pregnant. But he’s not the father. But the law provides him with an out. But rather than publicly humiliating Mary, Joseph decides to break it off quietly.
Based on my various readings, most men, at the time, would have called the engagement off. The only question was how best to do it.
His plan was sound. He felt humiliated and didn’t quite understand the miraculous nature of the situation. I take it Joseph wasn’t fully aware of his lineage or the significant part he was to play in being the second last in the line that began with Abraham (Matthew 1:17)
Just as Joseph was about to enact his plan, God stepped in.
“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.” (v 20-21)
Joseph has his own angelic encounter.
What to do? The humiliation hasn’t disappeared, nor the fact the boy to be born will be his stepson.
We don’t hear Joseph speak anywhere in the Bible. But judging by what happens when he wakes the next morning, his mind was set.
On a different course of action.
“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.” (v 24-25)
How often does that happen to us? We have our own plan and then it becomes apparent it’s not the best course. It’s hard for us though, isn’t it? We have our own ideas about what we think we should do and unfortunately, it’s rare for us to have angelic visitations in our sleep. That’s why it’s so important for us to spend time in prayer, in His Word and with fellow believers so we can gain understanding of God’s plan.
I have a tendency to procrastinate, to wait for the lightning bolt to confirm my next step. Yes, waiting is important but there needs to be a balance between the waiting and the stepping out in faith. May we be like Joseph, who once he knew the plan, adhered to it, trusting God to follow through.
Wishing you all a very wonderful Jesus-full Christmas. Thank for your support and encouragement this past year and I look forward to continuing our journey together in 2014.
I finish with this lovely song that Margaret Feinberg recommended in her Advent devotional. It starts slow but packs a punch by the end.
Immanuel (The Light) – yes indeed He is. God is with us, glory to Jesus this Christmas.
Grace and peace.