I was spending some time re-reading the accounts of the Christmas story in both Matthew and Luke. I was drawn some to the character of Joseph while I was reading and some of the decisions that he made that, in some ways, held the balance of history in their outcome. Do I really go through with this marriage? I know we are betrothed, and legally considered married, but this is not what I had planned. Do I really believe what I just dreamt about? Jesus? Save people from their sin?
Now, I am a father. I like to consider myself a thinker. However, I don’t know that my simple brain could manage all this information coming at me at once. Besides, who could I tell that I had been talking to angels? But the bible says Joseph was a righteous man. In looking at other translations, they use words like just, honorable, upright, good in the same way as righteous. He had every right under the law to expose her as a harlot, for which the punishment would be death. But there is a phrase in Matthew 1:20 that I read differently. It simply says, “But after he had considered this…”
Joseph took some time to think. Not sure how long.
Maybe he took a long walk in the countryside outside of Bethlehem.
He did NOT just react.
I think Joseph gives us some good pointers here when it comes to relationships. If we would sometimes take time to deliberate and consider all that has transpired in a particular situation, we may find that we have more mercy and moderation than we thought. This action of thinking by Joseph also gives us some clarity on what it means to be righteous. Those with more of a temper may blame Joseph for his willingness to be lenient on Mary. I think that, again, is an identifier of righteousness. Joseph’s action’s are praiseworthy because he is acting mercifully, like one who has been forgiven, and has not forgotten.
What if we became a people of consideration? If we took some time to think before we reacted? I think it is in those moments when the Holy Spirit is best able to speak to us. God loves to work in the realm of human perplexity. When we are dazed and confused, and not sure how to react, God loves to swoop in and say, “I have been waiting for you. Thanks for thinking it through, and considering all the angles. However, this one has supernatural written all over it, and you’re going to have to trust me on this one.”
And like Joseph, we will (hopefully) “…wake up and do what the angel of the Lord commands us to…”(Matt. 1:24)
Take some time in the busyness of the season to consider. Think about and consider all that God has done. His goodness, faithfulness, and righteousness, and evidence of those in your own life. And who knows, maybe an angel will come and ask you to be a part of something supernatural…….