In our last post we observed how a godly young maiden named Mary responded with scripture-laden praise to the news that she would be the mother of the incarnate Christ. This morning, Joseph, after he was informed that his wife-to-be was pregnant, wanted to do the right thing. From a human point of view, he must have been devastated. Matthew tells us,
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly (Matt. 1:19).
He clearly loved her in that he wanted to do the right thing with as little scandal to her as possible. He had to have been so confused and we are not told how he found out. We see in 1:20 he was afraid. We do know that couples betrothed were called husband and wife but did not consummate the marriage for a year as a test of purity. But clearly it became known and Joseph (and his family who negotiated the marriage) wanted to deal with it quickly and quietly.
Sometimes situations happen in our lives and we can’t make heads or tails out of it. We need guidance from God on what to do. Joseph received his instruction in a dream. We are not the beneficiaries today of such revelation, but we do possess the Holy Spirit, a more extensive canon of God’s special revelation, as well as the guidance of fellow believers who also are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The key is what we do with such guidance. Joseph obeyed. We do not have one recorded word of Joseph, but see several things about his character. He is righteous, he is compassionate, he is kind, and he is obedient. After the angel spoke to him in a dream informing him of how and why Mary was expecting (1:20-23), we see his response:
24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus (Matt. 1:24-25).
May we be so quick to obey.