Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Christmas Story from Joseph's Perspective

Every time I read the Nativity Story from the book of Matthew, I am always struck by the same thing: the obedience of Joseph. Matthew records 4 different dreams that Joseph had over a 3-4 year period, each with a divine message.
  1. Marry your pregnant fiancé.
  2. Flee to Egypt.
  3. Time to come back to Israel.
  4. Don't settle in Judea.
Each dream was met with immediate obedience. There's no record of Joseph trying to bargain with God or asking for further clarification. The Bible makes it seem that it's as if he woke up from the dream and did whatever the the instructions were instantly...even in the middle of the night if needed.

There is no way that Joseph could have fully understood the significance of each of those decisions. He didn't have the 2000 year hindsight perspective that we have. Most likely he didn't grasp the fact that the Messiah's life and plan for the salvation of mankind was hanging in the balance. If he hadn't obeyed each of those for divine messages: 
  1. Mary may have been stoned to death while pregnant with Jesus
  2. Herod may have killed Jesus as a baby in Bethlehem
  3. Jesus may have gotten accustomed to life in Egypt & not grown up w the very people for whom He was sent
  4. Herod's son, Archelaus, may have killed Jesus in Judea
Now I fully believe in the Sovereignty of God and I believe that nothing would have thwarted God's plan for salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. If Joseph had chosen not to obey, deliverance would have arisen from another source. 

BUT, Joseph did obey! 

He got to be part of the story. Part of the divine plan. Part of restoration of mankind to relationship with God. All because he obeyed the instructions given to him.

You may not feel like much is hanging in the balance when it comes to your decision whether or not to obey God. What difference will it really make if you don't give that money you felt prompted to give, or if you don't maintain purity in your relationship with your boyfriend, or if you don't reconcile that broken relationship? 

What we can't see from here is the 2000 year hindsight perspective of our own lives. We have no idea the rippling effects that every decision in our lives has. Each choice we make builds on the previous choice, and it is creating the person we are layer by layer. With each decision we are taking a step, either down this path or that one. 

Your obedience to God is much more significant than what it seems from here. Even when the instructions don't make sense from your perspective, trust God's perspective enough to obey right away.

1 comment:

Michelle C said...

I love these thoughts you put down. I am trying to find some thoughts on Joseph's perspective and loved these. Thanks for sharing them!