An Example of Obedience
TEXT: Matthew 1:18-25
Their dinner-table conversation brought out how Joseph was an example of obedience.
Christmas was almost here . . . only a few more weeks! Morgan, Luke, and Audrey were excited. The talk at the dinner table for nights had centered around Christmas—the things they were making at school, the gifts they were preparing, and the Christmas program at church.
Tonight was no exception! Six-year-old Audrey was to be an angel in the heavenly choir. “I get to wear a light blue robe and ‘cause I’m the littlest, I get to stand right in the front,” she told them, her eyes sparkling.
“You’ll be the prettiest little angel there,” Morgan told her sister. “And guess what! I’m going to be an angel too! I’m going to be the one who appears to Mary and Joseph.”
Luke looked up from his plate with a puzzled expression. “You meant the angel who appeared to Mary, right? The angel didn’t appear to Joseph until they had to leave Bethlehem, and my teacher said we weren’t doing that part this year.”
“No, Luke, I’m supposed to appear to Joseph right after Mary,” Morgan replied. “I picked up my script last Sunday after class, and I read through it just this morning. I know that’s how it went.”
“Dad, I’ve been selected to be Joseph in the play,” Luke said. “I haven’t read through my whole part yet, but I don’t remember an angel’s coming to Joseph after talking to Mary. Did the angel come then? Wasn’t it really later?”
His dad smiled. “Well, Son, why don’t we look in God’s Word to settle this question.”
Luke’s dad opened the Bible to Matthew 1, and started reading at verse 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. 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. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus.”
“Well, I guess that answers my question,” Luke said. “I didn’t remember that part at all. But I don’t get it. Why did an angel have to come? Didn’t Joseph already know that God had promised to send His Son to the world?”
“Remember, Luke,” replied Father, “that promise had been given hundreds of years before, and most people had probably just stopped thinking of its happening in their time. But when the angel appeared to him, Joseph realized that the promise was being fulfilled. What a thrill that must have been to him! He did what he was told to do by the angel, and took Mary as his wife. Because of his obedience, he had the wonderful privilege of rearing God’s own Son. God always does what He promises, but for us to receive God’s promises, what do we have to do?”
Luke thought for a minute. “I guess just do what we’re told.”
“Luke, last fall when I promised that you could go hunting with me, there was something you had to do to earn that trip. Do you remember what it was?”
“Yeah, I had to get all A’s and B’s in my school work. I did, and I got to go!”
“So, when you did what you were told, I did what I promised. God wants us to be obedient too. If we are, He will fulfill His promises to us. There is a verse you learned last month, as a key verse, that goes right along with this. Do you remember? ‘Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’ That verse has a special meaning for each of us. Can you tell me what you think it means, Audrey?”
“Does it mean, Daddy, that if we always do what God wants us to, He’ll answer our prayers?” asked Audrey.
“That’s right,” her father replied. “God knew that we wouldn’t be really happy unless we obeyed Him. He gave us His Word, with examples of people who were obedient. Joseph and Mary were two of those examples. We see how God helped them, because He knew they would do what they were told even when they didn’t understand. But everything worked out perfectly when they let God have His way. It can be the same in our lives!
“Does that answer your question, Luke?” asked his father, as he closed the Bible.
“Yes, and it’s a good thing I asked. Now I’ll be able to really act like Joseph in the play!”