Summary: What was Joseph thinking that night outside the stable. Have you ever thought about it? What would have been going through your mind? This message challenges us to do what Joseph did. He obeyed God even when it didn’t make sense.
What was Joseph Thinking?
It may sound a little bit morbid to begin a message like this, but I have always told my wife, when I die, if she believes it can be said with integrity, I want my epitaph to include Genesis 6:22.
Genesis 6:22 (NIV)
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
My prayer is that when I breathe my last breath, that the same thing can be said of me, ¡§he did everything the Lord commanded.¡¨ Wouldn¡¦t it be great for that to be the summary statement of your life? He/She did everything just as God commanded.
Obedience should be the goal of every committed Christian. That would be the greatest measure of success I think, to know that you lived and died doing exactly what God wanted you to do. It¡¦s a choice that all of us can make. We choose to obey or we choose to disobey Him. Nobody else makes that choice for you. You get to decide.
There¡¦s another great passage of scripture in John 2:5. It takes place at the scene of Jesus¡¦ first miracle, the wedding in village of Cana in Galilee.
You know the story. Mary, the mother of Jesus, saw a need and she looked to the servants and made a very powerful statement in regard to their response to Jesus.
John 2:5 (NIV)
5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
What would be different in your life if you decided that right now, from this day forward, you would do whatever God tells you to do? No more arguing, no more debates. No more rationalizing and no more excuses. When God speaks I will listen and I will obey. What would happen if you made that kind of commitment?
I¡¦ll tell you what would happen. You would enter into a stage of your Christian life that you will never experience as long as you live in the land of disobedience.
Obedience just makes sense. We¡¦re talking about obeying God here! He can be trusted. He knows what is best. I think it would be safe to say that the wise among us will learn to walk in daily obedience to God, His Word and His will for our lives. In fact, that¡¦s exactly what the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:24.
Matthew 7:24 (NIV)
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
It is wise to obey.
But what does all of this have to do with Christmas? I am glad you asked.
Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19 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.
20 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.
21 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."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him. The angel was a messenger from God so it would be fair to say that Joseph obeyed God.
Now, I want you to think about this for a moment.
Did obedience make sense for Joseph? Absolutely not!
1) Obedience was not his natural inclination under the circumstances.
2) Obedience didn¡¦t make a bit of sense. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that
3) Joseph already had a plan was and his plan looked nothing like what the angel told him to do.
That is often the way it is when we choose to live by faith. Obedience doesn¡¦t always add up. It makes me wonder, what was Joseph thinking in the midst of all of this?
You know, I have lots of questions for so many of the characters in the Bible when it comes to the matter of obedience.