Dwight Fletcher | Christmas Breeze - Change in season (Part III)
As we begin a new year, we often reflect on the year that has past, what went well or what lessons we learned. For the past two weeks we have been talking about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father and the lessons we can learn from him. So far we learnt that Joseph, though he was silent, was a man of action.
Though he was silent, we see him acting and setting an example for us to follow. First, we learned that he did not make rash decisions and second, we learned that he responded with mercy.
Today, we will look at the third lesson we can learn from Joseph. By his actions we learn that:
3. He engaged God
Joseph engaged God through prayer. When he learned of Mary's pregnancy, he would have had to stand up against the culture, the dictates of his family, the talk of his friends and even his own fears. Regardless of things that were against Joseph, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and gave him instructions, he obeyed immediately. Sometimes in a situation like Joseph we can't even pray, we can only groan. When we are in distress, we need to call out to God knowing that He has the answer to our problem.
God answered Joseph through a dream in Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV) which says, "… 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. 21 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."
Joseph's motto would have been the same as Nike: "Just do it!". He obeyed God despite the fear he must have had when the angel appeared to him "…do not be afraid to take to you Mary, your wife…".
What is God asking you to do in obedience to Him this year?
Obedience to God may cost us. Sometimes doing the right thing comes with a cost. Obeying God cost Joseph - Matthew 1: 24-25(NIV) says, "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
Obeying God's will may have immediate personal consequences. For Joseph, obeying God meant that he would not consummate his marriage until Jesus was born.
Obedience also releases the provision and protection of God for us and our family as evident with Joseph when;
- God protected the family from Herod. "an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up,' he said, 'take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.'" Matthew 2:13 (NIV).
- God provided for the journey. The magi "…presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11 (NIV).
Disobedience to God carries a high price. Great men and women have got derailed in life because they decided to follow their own desires rather than God's will for them. Joseph was a great man because he was a great follower. He did anything and everything God told him to do. If Joseph had decided to disobey God, not only would he have lost his personal integrity, he would have lost his legacy.
A situation that started out as a crisis ended up being a monumental event in history. Joseph was chosen to be the surrogate father of Jesus because he was pure of heart. He was the kind of man God could use and this quiet man's actions changed the world. Through his actions he became a great example for all of us.
He yielded to the will of the Lord.
"Are you the kind of person that yields to God's will, the person that obeys God and that he could use in a big way? God will never call another man to do what Joseph did. But God has plenty of big jobs left to do, He just needs the people who are willing and qualified to do them. That person can be you.