Reality (Matthew 1:19)

Photo by Hamza Bounaim on Unsplash

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose  her to   public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…” 

The Word of God calls Joseph righteous, and his intention to avoid shaming his bride reveals his godly character. His circumstance, character and choice have put Joseph in a place where he is about to experience God on a whole new level.

We all want that. We all desire to be like Joseph in being called righteous. We all desire to act in God’s character so as to be considered godly, and we all desire to hear God speak to us through dreams and visions. Indeed, some cross earth and sea to get to what they understand as “thin places” – places where they might be close enough to God to hear Him more clearly or see spiritual reality more tangibly. Places like where Joseph is now, sleeping. These are the enviable traits of Joseph’s story, but not many would envy where he actually is at this point in his story. 

Consider: His bride to be has just revealed her pregnancy – something that in all likelihood has already destroyed their hopes for a wedding celebrated with much family and many friends. When his family and friends found out, they would be more than disappointed. Both his side of the family and her side of the family would be crushed. Even if they were to be married anyway, for reasons of propriety it would need to be done quietly and without fanfare. Joseph was finding himself between a rock and a hard place. 

With that weighing on his mind, one can imagine it was not easy for him to fall asleep. One can imagine he was broiled in thought about exactly what to do. In reality Joseph was close to God. But in his mind, Joseph is in a very difficult place indeed!

Truth is, we all want the honour that God showed Joseph (in being called righteous). But we want that honour without the difficulty of living out the day-to-day decisions that result in refinement of our character. We want God to call us righteous without God first calling us to challenging circumstance. We want to be in thin places – places where the Lord might reveal Himself in a most meaningful way – but we want that without the inner pain that places us there. We want dreams and visions of God’s plans for us without crying ourselves to sleep. We want His best for us now, without first seeking to do the very best thing for those who have deeply hurt us and dashed our dreams and hopes.

But there are no shortcuts to righteousness or God’s favour, whatever our circumstance. Only choices. Choices that either put us nearer to Him, or not. Those choices are ours to make. 

They are yours to make, even today.

Desire of righteousness is preceded by repentance, accompanied by humility, and followed by works of mercy.


APPLICATION: Intentionality

What are you expecting to God to say to you? 

How are you preparing yourself to hear Him speak?

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