Working in his father’s carpenter shop in Nazareth, the same thoughts filled Joseph’s mind today as they had for the last three months. Why did Mary, his future bride, leave so abruptly without letting him know? All he knew about her disappearance was what friends and customers had said while in the shop. When was she coming back home? Oh how he longed to see her.
Even before their parents had made the arrangement for their marriage, Joseph had noticed Mary’s love for God, her quiet, sweet ways. She would smile shyly when they had met occasionally.
Deep in thought, he only half listened to people as they came into the shop. Wait. What was this he was hearing? Did someone say “Mary”? His Mary? Had she finally returned? Frozen, he listened intently? No, it couldn’t be, not his Mary, she was not the kind to be unfaithful to their marriage agreement. Pregnant? NO!
Mary had been home a week. The rumors were true. Joseph was beside himself with grief. No, he could not bear to think of having Mary stoned as the law allowed. He decided to quietly break the engagement.
Heartbroken, Joseph laid down to get some sleep. Waking from a deep sleep, he sat bolt upright. The angel had seemed so real, as if he was right in the room with him. The angel said he was to take Mary as his wife, for the baby in her womb, conceived by the Holy Spirit, was the promised Messiah and was to be called “Jesus”. So, Mary had not been unfaithful to him. No matter what other people may think of her or him, he knew the truth. He would obey God and take Mary to be his wife.
On the night Mary gave birth, shepherds had come to see “the Savior, which is Christ, the Lord”. Today, wise men from the east had visited them, worshipped the baby and given them gifts. Sleep came quickly to Joseph this night as he lay down next to his sweet wife. Then, just as quickly, Joseph awoke. Another dream. This time the angel said to take Mary and the baby and flee to Egypt to save the baby from the sword of Herod. Joseph woke Mary and they quickly escaped under cover of night.
Twice more Joseph was visited by the angel in a dream. Each time he obeyed. It hadn’t been easy moving to a strange country so far from all that was familiar. They rejoiced when the angel had told him they could go back to Judah. As they traveled back home, Joseph thought of all that had happened since he had first become engaged to Mary. It was not at all what he had envisioned as a young man.
Finally, they had reached Judah. It wasn’t far now to Bethlehem. One more dream. This time the angel instructed Joseph to go to Nazareth, not Bethlehem. Jesus would be safer farther from Herod.
While life had taken many different turns as God had directed him, Joseph had never questioned what the angel told him. He had not hesitated to obey no matter how strange it may have seemed or what hardship it had caused him. He simply trusted God and obeyed.
This same immediate obedience is what God desires from each one of us. God sent an angel to Joseph, but today we have God’s written commands. Sometimes people say they want to know God’s will, but they aren’t obeying the plain commands in the His Word. God expects us to obey what He has already made available to each of us. As we do He can lead us in specific ways. Notice God did not tell Joseph to go to Nazareth when he was told to leave Egypt, it was as he obeyed that God told Joseph a detail left out before.
Is there a command of God you have been resisting?
“When Joseph woke from sleep,
he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” Matthew 1:24.
© Cynthia Wedge 2017 (Thank you, Cynthia! I love the way you bring the characters to life and help us understand them as “real” people just like we are.)