I'm reading through Matthew right now and it occurred to me that reading through the gospels is much like unwrapping a gift. Let's unwrap a few packages during these weeks leading up to Christmas. The first gift is the obedience of Joseph. His story begins in the the first chapter of Matthew.
Matthew 1:24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife.
Can you even imagine what this felt like for Joseph? He hears that his betrothed is pregnant. He knows it isn't his baby. He prepares to quietly divorce her as to bring her the least amount of attention and shame and THEN he gets a visit from an angel who enters his dreams. The angel tells him that this baby is from the Holy Spirit and that he should go ahead and take Mary as his wife. He awoke . . . and he obeyed.
Matthew 2:21 So Joseph got up, took the child and His mother while it was still night and left for Egypt.
In another dream, Joseph learns that the baby is in danger and that he needs to immediately take his family to Egypt. Egypt? Are you kidding?!?! I'm pretty sure that is the last place that Joseph was thinking about traveling to, but again, he gets up and takes his family to Egypt.
Matthew 2:23 He came to live in a city called Nazareth.
Once again, Joseph is told in a dream that he can head back to Israel. Just as he is thinking about settling down in his hometown, he hears that there is still a danger in that area, so he heads to Nazareth.
Let's face it -- Moms get a lot more press than Dads for the most part. Professional athletes are always waving and speaking to the camera saying "Hi Mom!", "I love you, Mom!" It isn't that Dads are not important. In fact, having a good father is critical and the lack of one very hurtful. Reading through this passage reminded me of how God used this very ordinary, Jewish carpenter, to be the earthly father of the Messiah. Joseph must have already had a very close relationship with his God. God spoke to him in dreams. He listened and he immediately obeyed.
This was radical stuff too -- marrying a woman who was already with child? remaining sexually abstinent until after the birth of the baby? Moving to Egypt - back to Israel - settling in Nazareth. All of these changes initiated by God through Joseph's dreams. Each warning and instruction taken to heart and immediately obeyed. This could not have made sense, and yet Joseph obeyed without hesitancy.
Will I listen to the Lord as closely as Joseph did?
Will I obey immediately, without hesitation?
Can the Lord trust me like He could trust Joseph?
Joseph was an ordinary man entrusted with an extraordinary mission. His major qualification was his willingness to hear and obey, trusting this God that he had come to know.
May I be found so trustworthy!