2012-12-29 - Joseph, The Man Who Listened to God
Joseph, husband of Mary, faced two difficult situations. First, Mary, whom he was pledged to marry, had become pregnant. Joseph planned to divorce her quietly. But as he was considering this, "an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream." (Matthew 1:20, NIV) The heavenly visitor told Joseph to marry Mary, as the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph followed the angel's instructions, married Mary, and became a parent to Jesus.
The second time Joseph listened to God's instructions was when an angel appeared to him, again in a dream, after the visit of the Wise Men. The angel told Joseph to "take the child (Jesus) and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you." (Matthew 2:13) Joseph immediately obeyed the angel, who was speaking for God. Joseph got up during the night and took the family to Egypt. As a result, Jesus escaped death at the hands of King Herod.
God doesn't usually speak to us through angels or in dreams today. Instead, He guides us with Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. He speaks to us through His Word. We know what is expected of us. Will we follow Joseph's example, and listen and obey?