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Matthew 1:19-20

To Be Used by God

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Many men would seek vengeance, if they found that their wife had cheated on them. In our culture divorce does not seem so out of the ordinary and may not even seem like a vengeful thing to do. A shooting is more likely the modern way for a husband to avenge his damaged pride.

Of course, murder is illegal, but in Joseph's day revenge was easy. According to the law, "If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you." (Deut 22:23-24)

Joseph, we are told by Matthew, was a "just", or "righteous", man. What other kind would we expect God to chose for the legal guardian of His Son? As a righteous man, however, he was obedient to the law of God, which appeared to call for the execution by stoning of Joseph's betrothed. This would certainly have been an easy way to get revenge.

But, God not only chose a righteous man; He also chose a merciful and loving man. Battling with his own conscience, he decided against even the embarrassment of a public divorce. He would protect Mary and divorce her quietly and privately.

How he must have agonized over this entire situation! I am sure that he spent many hours in prayer over this, for God intervened and helped him to understand what had really happened. While he was debating what he should do, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. Calling him the "son of David" (This is the only time in scripture where this name is used for anyone but the Messiah.), the angel said that he should not be afraid to marry Mary.

We can only imagine the emotion that must have welled up in Joseph as he heard that Mary bore a child conceived by the Holy Spirit --- distraught over the pregnancy and the apparent betrayal, then lifted to heights of relief and joy over Mary's innocence and, now, humbled by the thought of being chosen to act as father to the very Son of God. Words are insufficient!

How would God use you? Are you a just and yet merciful person? Can you extend godly love and forgiveness even to those who would hurt you as badly as Joseph must have been hurt? Would you have struggled in prayer, asking God to help you do the right thing?

You cannot serve God when your relationships with others are in shambles. (Mt 5:23-24) You cannot lead worship, if you harbor bitterness in your heart. Your words cannot be an acceptable offering of praise unless you treat your acquaintances with kindness, forgiveness, and mercy. God won't call you to be father to His Son, but He has called you to be at one with His Son.

Before The Throne:

Pray that He will fix your heart. Ask for the gift of love, the greatest of all spiritual gifts. Pray for your relationships that are strained and confess your part in them. Let God begin to use your ministry in powerful ways.

For Further Study:

(v.19) ** her husband. Lev 19:20; Deut 22:23-24; ** a just. Gen 6:9; Ps 112:4-5; Mark 6:20; Luke 2:25; Acts 10:22; ** a public. Gen 38:24; Lev 20:10; Deut 22:21-24; John 8:4; John 8:5; ** was. Deut 24:1-4; Mark 10:4;

(v.20) ** while. Ps 25:8-9; Ps 94:19; Ps 119:125; Ps 143:8; Prov 3:5-6; Prov 12:5; Isa 26:3; Isa 30:21; ** the angel. Judg 13:3, 8-9; Luke 1:10-13; Luke 1:19, 26-38; Luke 2:8-14; ** in. Matt 2:13, 19, 22; Gen 31:11; Num 12:6; Job 4:13-16; Job 33:15-17; Joel 2:28; ** Joseph. Isa 7:2, 13; Jer 33:26; Luke 2:4; ** fear not. Matt 28:5; Gen 46:3; 1Kgs 17:13; Isa 51:7; Jer 40:9; Luke 1:30; ** that. Matt 1:18; Jer 31:22; ** conceived. Gr. begotten.


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