Though the world may want us to do certain things, to be and act a certain way, we must first listen to the one who is good and holds all things together.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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. 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.”
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) The whole Old Testament speaks of Jesus’ coming and here he finally is. It’s the very beginning of the greatest story ever told. He enters the world just like every one of us: as a defenceless little baby. And what an amazing thing that is. God, all powerful, came to us as we are. To me that is a great display of God’s character. He was willing to leave his throne and become essentially the least powerful a human can be.
But there is another person’s character we also get a glimpse of in this small passage. We get a peek into Joseph’s life. We see that he was a man of the law. So much so that he was planning to divorce Mary because she was with child before they had come together.
But it is evident that he had a stronger faith in God than he had in the law. After being told by the angel who the child would become, he stayed and continued to fulfil the vows he made to Mary despite the disgrace they could both be exposed to. He heard God. He listened to him and had faith that God knew the correct path to take, even though the world was telling him to go in a different direction. Joseph felt that he had to change his circumstances so that his life would be more in line with the world. But God had a different plan. Joseph would help Mary raise the most important man in history.
I’m reminded of a song called I am Living in a Land of Death by Citizens & Saints. In a particular part of one of the verses:
But there’s a path in the dark that has emerged
I can see a great light beyond this curse
A brilliant blaze that is your word
A beacon of hope that burns
There is no denying that life is messy and quite horrible at times. But God is bigger than our lives of disarray, and he gives grace freely for our mess. He can use us for his glory despite our sin, if we would only let him.
Head: Who do you listen to? Do you listen to the law? To what people will think of you? Or like Joseph do you listen to God above those things?
Heart: Be real – is God first in your life? Are you more concerned with his will than your own? Do you seek out God’s voice, or are you content with listening to the voices of this world?
Hands: How can you listen to God first? How can you listen to him above all the other voices in your life? What are you going to do? We hear God clearly through his word – maybe you could spend some time really listening to God in the Bible?
Prayer: Lord thank you that you sent your Son, that we don’t have the anticipation of the Old Testament, but that we already know truth. Thank you for the way we hear that truth through your Son. Father please help us to listen to you, and care what you think more than the world. Thanks that you are good and we can trust that yours is the way that will lead us in the path everlasting. Amen.
A song to listen to: I Am Living in a Land of Death
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of a previous series in Matthew in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.