Scripture Read – Matthew 1-2
Nugget: Matthew 1:18-224b, 2:5-6, 13a-b, 15b, 17-18, 19b-20a, 21, 22b-23
“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. … They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’ … Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Jospeh in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; … This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’ … Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’ … an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, … Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. … And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’”
Devotional thought: Joseph, a righteous man, planned on his own to do something outside God’s plan. In effect an act of disobedience. Fortunately, being a righteous man, he was obedient to God’s messenger as were the wise man who followed the words of a prophet. Faith in God begets righteousness, righteousness begets holiness, holiness is ultimate obedience. Obedience to dreams, angels and prophets fulfilled God’s plan. What we read in these two chapters is examples of obedience in practice – so refreshing after all the examples earlier this week of disobedience. To act obediently to God requires faith, faith to move and go to places and situations we have no knowledge or experience. I call this Over-the-Horizon faith, which is our response to God’s Over-the-Horizon promises. Those promises not fully explained, that will be revealed in God’s time, but only if we move into them. Praise God for Joseph’s righteousness and obedience – what a powerful example! Praise God for the prophets who spoke of things to come, long before they occurred. Let us be as obedient to God. Let’s continue to read and study Scripture to help us realize God’s promises and commands.