"When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus" (Matthew 1:24-25, HCSB).
Joseph has his reservations at first. He is understandably confused and doubtful when he finds out Mary is pregnant. But, to his credit, he doesn't seem to hesitate after the Angel speaks to him in a dream. He doesn't wave off, or tell God that he doesn't have the skills to be Jesus' earthly father. He doesn't ignore the dream either, insisting that dreams are just silly. Instead, he recognized the dream for what it was, a revelation from God. He took the words seriously, and took Mary to be his wife. He took responsibility for her, protecting her from outside criticism and taking her and the child-to-be into his home. He faithfully took care of the pregnant Mary, respecting her precious condition, and named the little boy Jesus when He was born. Joseph was definitely an interesting figure! I love His faithfulness, His willingness to recognize a revelation from God and follow through with it. Definitely honorable traits. And definitely the kind of heart I want to have for the things of God as well.
"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town" (Luke 2:1-3, HCSB).
I'm sure the last thing Mary & Joseph wanted to do was travel far from home for a census, especially with Mary so close to her delivery time. But travel they did. And, in doing this, they were going to fulfill a prophesy. For they were going to Bethlehem.
"Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity" (Micah 5:2, HCSB).
Isn't God amazing like that? A government decision by the Romans, a people that didn't even worship God, still accomplished God's will. Something to remember today as well, isn't it? God isn't restricted by anyone or anything. He can work His will and way in any situation, even if it didn't start out being for good. A friend reminded me of that last point yesterday, and I loved it. Things that happen to us in this world because of outside circumstances, a cruel person, a bad decision, a personal sickness, betrayal, hardship, those things don't start out as being "good" but God can still use them for good. He can still bring good out of us, even if its painful in the process. He can use circumstances, and people that don't even believe in Him, to draw His loved ones closer to Him. I don't like the idea of going through hardships, or going through times of pruning, but I love the thought that I'm more like Him at the end of it! I love that thought that He can work through anything, or anyone, even a government that doesn't honor and serve Him can fulfill His prophesies. Why? Because He's God.
"And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. (Luke 2:4-5, HCSB)
Once again, the prophesies of old are being fulfilled. A man of the line of David was going to be the earthly father of Jesus. The King of Kings was coming to earth shortly, in the form of a tiny baby.
“'The days are coming'”—this is the Lord’s declaration—'when I will raise up a Righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land'" (Jeremiah 23:5, HCSB).
I'm so thankful that we have all of these prophesies. They're just one more way to prove just how amazing God is, and how He keeps His promises. Also that He isn't held in by time, He sees yesterday, today and tomorrow and knows how all the pieces fit together. He had a plan in it all, friends. Reminding myself of these prophesies reveals that. It's a needed reminder, yes?