This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet 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 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. 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.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25 NIV)
We don’t know when Mary told Joseph that she was pregnatn but looking at the story it would appear that she told him when she came back from visiting her relative Elizabeth. John was about to be born or had just been born and Mary would have been three months pregnant and just showing.
Your fiancé goes away for three months and when she returns it appears she is pregnant. What does that make you think?
He loved her and even in the middle of what looked like unfaithfulness he didn’t want to expose her, he cared for her.
The wrestling in his mind would have been immense. He was a devout and honourable Jewish man, he loved the law and wanted to see the law fulfilled. He would have been asking…but why me? What have I done that this should happen? How could she do this to me? We were engaged, who is this man?
The mental torment of such situations would keep you awake at night, the distress of your soul would make you restless through the day. We don’t know how long it was before God interrupted his plan. But Joseph had made a plan, for from the perspective of man there is only one way this could have happened and in his culture there was only one thing he could do. But that was painful, and despite what had happened he really loved Mary.
As the story unfolds I am reminded of this scripture:
The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASB)
The Lord had a plan, despite what Joseph was thinking.
Joseph had a dream and an angel appeared to him. I think we get quite blasé when we read verses like this, but how many times have you had it happen? An angel appears in his dream and speaks with Him. I love it that God knows the best ways to communicate. I know I am speculating a little but he knew Josephs mind was troubled and so what better way than in a dream. You wonder how he felt when he woke up. He had changed his mind, he was now at peace. The passage goes on to quote a passage from Isaiah, did that come to his mind too when he awoke?
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 NASB)
We do know though that when God speaks it changes everything, He brings peace, He directs our steps. It makes me hungry to hear his voice, to know his heart and to know his plans. I pray that I would be obedient as Joseph was to whatever he might say.