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Devotions

Joseph
December 17, 2017

Joseph

Matthew​ ​1:18-25

Before​ ​God​ ​intervened​ ​to​ ​reveal​ ​to​ ​Joseph​ ​that​ ​Mary’s​ ​pregnancy​ ​was​ ​indeed​ ​a​ ​miracle,​ ​it’s understandable​ ​why​ ​he​ ​would​ ​think​ ​Mary​ ​was​ ​just​ ​creating​ ​an​ ​extravagant​ ​excuse​ ​to​ ​cover sinful​ ​behavior;​ ​and​ ​why​ ​he​ ​would​ ​want​ ​to​ ​end​ ​their​ ​pending​ ​marriage.​ ​Mary’s​ ​apparent unfaithfulness​ ​carried​ ​a​ ​severe​ ​social​ ​stigma.​ ​Marrying​ ​this​ ​girl​ ​would​ ​cause​ ​serious​ ​damage​ ​to Joseph’s​ ​family’s​ ​reputation​ ​-​ ​not​ ​to​ ​mention​ ​cast​ ​a​ ​negative​ ​light​ ​on​ ​Joseph’s​ ​own​ ​innocence. According​ ​to​ ​Jewish​ ​civil​ ​law,​ ​Joseph​ ​had​ ​a​ ​right​ ​to​ ​publicly​ ​break​ ​off​ ​the​ ​engagement​ ​and​ ​even have​ ​Mary​ ​stoned.

But​ ​because​ ​he​ ​was​ ​a​ ​good​ ​man,​ ​Joseph​ ​laid​ ​aside​ ​his​ ​rights.​ ​He​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​spare​ ​Mary​ ​the humiliation​ ​and​ ​death​ ​sentence​ ​by​ ​quietly​ ​parting​ ​ways​ ​with​ ​her.​ ​He​ ​was​ ​doing​ ​what​ ​society​ ​told him​ ​was​ ​the​ ​proper​ ​choice,​ ​while​ ​still​ ​showing​ ​grace.

Then​ ​God​ ​sent​ ​the​ ​angel​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Lord​ ​down​ ​in​ ​a​ ​dream​ ​to​ ​give​ ​another​ ​option​ ​-​ ​marry​ ​her.​ ​In​ ​light of​ ​the​ ​circumstances,​ ​this​ ​was​ ​no​ ​small​ ​demand​ ​and​ ​would​ ​not​ ​be​ ​an​ ​easy​ ​task​ ​for​ ​Joseph​ ​to accept.​ ​Even​ ​with​ ​Mary’s​ ​story​ ​confirmed,​ ​this​ ​still​ ​left​ ​Joseph​ ​with​ ​a​ ​seemingly​ ​scandalous situation​ ​that​ ​would​ ​haunt​ ​his​ ​family​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​their​ ​lives.​ ​But​ ​Joseph​ ​showed​ ​both​ ​great compassion​ ​toward​ ​Mary​ ​and​ ​faith​ ​in​ ​the​ ​word​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Lord​ ​when​ ​he​ ​stepped​ ​up​ ​to​ ​go​ ​beyond doing​ ​what​ ​was​ ​expected​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​do​ ​what​ ​was​ ​truly​ ​right.

It’s​ ​easy​ ​to​ ​judge​ ​someone​ ​else​ ​and​ ​make​ ​false​ ​assumptions​ ​about​ ​their​ ​character​ ​when​ ​you don’t​ ​know​ ​their​ ​whole​ ​story​ ​-​ ​and​ ​even​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​push​ ​them​ ​aside​ ​if​ ​we​ ​feel​ ​their​ ​reputation makes​ ​them​ ​too​ ​embarrassing​ ​to​ ​associate​ ​with.​ ​But​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​realize​ ​that​ ​God​ ​is​ ​often​ ​doing a​ ​work​ ​in​ ​others’​ ​lives​ ​that​ ​we​ ​cannot​ ​see,​ ​and​ ​their​ ​potential​ ​in​ ​God’s​ ​Kingdom​ ​is​ ​just​ ​as impactful​ ​as​ ​anyone​ ​else’s.​ ​Our​ ​love​ ​for​ ​people​ ​should​ ​never​ ​have​ ​limitations.​ ​And​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to remember​ ​that​ ​often​ ​doing​ ​what’s​ ​honorable​ ​means​ ​reaching​ ​farther​ ​than​ ​the​ ​norm.​ ​It​ ​requires more​ ​than​ ​simply​ ​extending​ ​grace​ ​and​ ​kindness.​ ​It​ ​means​ ​laying​ ​aside​ ​the​ ​rights​ ​we​ ​think​ ​we have​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​the​ ​people​ ​who​ ​most​ ​would​ ​cast​ ​away​ ​because​ ​of​ ​their​ ​unappealing​ ​status.​ ​It means​ ​stepping​ ​out​ ​of​ ​our​ ​comfort​ ​zones​ ​and​ ​going​ ​out​ ​of​ ​our​ ​way​ ​to​ ​love​ ​with​ ​an​ ​unconditional love​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Lord​ ​so​ ​perfectly​ ​shows​ ​all​ ​of​ ​us​ ​every​ ​day.

Pray:​ ​​“Lord,​ ​You​ ​are​ ​not​ ​a​ ​respecter​ ​of​ ​persons​ ​-​ ​You​ ​love​ ​all​ ​of​ ​your​ ​children​ ​with​ ​a​ ​profound, everlasting​ ​love.​ ​I​ ​pray​ ​that​ ​I​ ​would​ ​have​ ​the​ ​same​ ​heart​ ​as​ ​You.​ ​Help​ ​me​ ​to​ ​always​ ​see​ ​others’ potential​ ​and​ ​not​ ​their​ ​faults.​ ​Help​ ​me​ ​to​ ​have​ ​deep​ ​compassion​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​I​ ​encounter, regardless​ ​of​ ​their​ ​social​ ​stature​ ​or​ ​their​ ​broken​ ​past.”