Journal Matt 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way:
- When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph—before they came together, she was found with child from the Holy Spirit.
- And Joseph (being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame) resolved to divorce her quietly.
But as he considered these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife…
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him…” excerpts from Matt 1:18-24
Observation: I am looking at the phrase, “as (Joseph) considered these things…” I wonder how long he “considered”? What was the thinking process he went through? Did he talk this over with anybody or did Joseph just stare into his belly button for guidance?
Analysis: I am prodded into thinking about the last few posts, specifically Philemon and 2 Tim 3.
Here we have 2 guys, Philemon and Timothy, being nudged into thinking broadly and considering the values they espouse. Philemon must decide about Onesimus coming back, whom he previously described as “useless.” Timothy is presented with a puzzling reference (at least to the readers) about being a follower of Paul, specifically the “aim of his life.”
What were Joseph’s questions to himself? How blunt were his thoughts about Mary? Were those thoughts of walking righteously or judgmentally? Merciful? Is he considering what other folks would think? The “story” is pretty unlikely: a virgin birth? “Yeah, right, Joe: Shifting your own blame unto the girl. Or did the girl step out on you and blackmail you into marriage?”
Grinding over issues are part and parcel in my life. Some issues are cut and dry: “Of course I shouldn’t do that!!” Others are not so clear. Joe was struggling with issues…and it wasn’t only about Mary. There was a considerable amount where it was about Joseph. After all, Joseph was a “just man”—he had a reputation to uphold.
As a Christian, I am expected to: 1) Depend on God; 2) Fear Him; 3) Seek Him constantly; 4) Scour the Word for instructions and wisdom (knowing that there is a difference), and; 5) Don’t lean on my own understanding. There are instruments of Grace surrounding me that I need to take consideration of, including signs and wonders (like dreams). Not exclusively but they are there as a gift of grace.
One of the most impactful gifts of Grace? Cultivating an ear to hear the Whisper of the Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, You know this hits close to home with me. I will carry that decision with me the rest of my days. You have given mercy to me and there is a certain peace that I have—but it is not a full peace.
I deposit myself at the foot of the Cross, O Lord. Everyday I look for your Grace in my life.
Cause revival, O Lord. AMEN