Honor (Matthew 1:20-21)

Photo by Dexter Chatuluka on Unsplash

Joseph had thought through his next actions in light of his financé unplanned  pregnancy.   He knew he wasn’t the father. He knew that it would bring much shame to both families if he married her, and in his culture it would be her undoing if he pointed out that she was pregnant out of wedlock. His line of thought was rooted in kindness. With noble intentions, he chose to avoid shaming her by divorcing her quietly. “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.”

We should read that sentence carefully. It says, “But after he had considered this…” That meant that some time passed. The Lord is not uncomfortable leaving us in uncomfortable circumstance if it furthers His glory. Whenever we are faced with an uncomfortable choice, we should remember that. 

One wonders how long Joseph wrestled with his choices. He had to carefully process every possibility. As a Jew, he would’ve known that Isaiah had prophesied Messiah would be born of a virgin. Just how believable was Mary’s story in this case, even if there was a truthful ring to it? 

There is a difference between a good choice and the best choice. The Lord is purposeful in seeking that we might make the best of our choices, and not any less. Perhaps that is one reason we who follow Jesus have such a difficult time discerning His will in some matters. To be God’s disciple, we must learn how to pick between the better and the best, and then act on it decisively. That is not a habit easily gained. But God knows our frame, and He is well able to encourage us to make the right choice. In Joseph’s case, God sends an angel to speak to him. This is the first time we read of Joseph hearing God speak, even if it is through an angel:

“Joseph, son of David”. To hear his name spoken by that which is beyond his frame of reference must be both terrifying and strangely comforting – the words being reassurance that supernatural God knows him, and where he came from. “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.” His concern is dealt with straight on, and the Lord calls it for what it is. Not a mere concern for his parents, but a personal fear. No doubt there was yet some prideful fear that he would lose his place in society if he took Mary in spite of her pregnancy. “…because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” A full validation of Mary’s testimony. He could know for certain she was sane, godly and blessed. “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.” 

This simple truth changes everything for Joseph. The promised Messiah would finally be born, and He would be born into Joseph’s house! A higher honour could not be hoped for. 

In just a few sentences, the Lord had taken what looked to be a personal disaster and turned it into a tremendous blessing.    

That is so like Him. 

Even the ungodly can see that often what appears to be disaster is actually a blessing. Oscar Wilde said, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise for which we are later, in the fullness of time and understanding, very grateful for!” So it is. The Lord who redeems broken and sinful people also redeems the soreness of the trials we endure. Did the Lord not turn the cross into the greatest of blessings? Dear child of God, fear not. You are in HIs hands. Perhaps He is doing something similar in your circumstance.

Marcus Verbrugge


Mediate on God’s character as revealed in His promise in Joel 2:25-27; 

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”

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