The Word of God.

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and 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 be with child and will 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 had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
The gospel reading for Christmas morning is from John 1. This passage speaks of the Lord Jesus as the Word of God. God speaks. We must heed His word as did Joseph.
Would you make major decisions based on dreams? Would you invest money or move your family or get married? Many people do and most of them we classify as irrational, superstitious, or strange. Yet what about Joseph? He made a major, life-changing, irrevocable decision, one which exposed him to ridicule and shame, based on a dream. Life with Mary and Jesus would be hard because people would always look at Joseph in one of two ways. First, people would have looked at him with ridicule: he was a cuckold, a man whose wife had committed adultery, and he knew about it and still married her. That would not be pleasant for Joseph, but it would be worse for Mary and Jesus. Joseph would have to endure the pain of seeing them ridiculed and scorned. Joseph would have to work to protect them from any hint of abuse. That would be difficult.
But people could also view him as a good man who sinned, who, in the passion of the moment, got his wife pregnant before their marriage. These things happen. After all, he made it right by marrying her. To a righteous man, however, it would be humiliating to be thought a sinner, without seeking some way to rectify the situation by telling everyone the truth.
But who would believe the truth? A child conceived by the Holy Spirit? Would you believe that? Today anyone who claimed that would be a candidate for psychiatric treatment. Back then, he would have been laughed to scorn. No, he would tell the truth, even though this would open him and his family up to further pain. And yet, since he was a righteous and godly man, was close to the Lord, religious, devout, patient, compassionate, he knew God’s voice so that when he had that dream he had no doubt that the message was from Him. He believed that God was guiding him in this dream. He had at least three more dreams after the birth of Jesus as God continued to guide him.
What about you? Do you know the voice of the Lord? Do you know when He is speaking to you? Can you distinguish between his Word and the voices of the world, the flesh, the devil? If you heard God’s voice, how would you respond? We don’t need angelic visitations, dreams, or miraculous signs to hear his voice or to tell us His will, although we ought to be open to such possibilities. We have the Holy Spirit to guide u through the Scripture, God’s Word and through the church, the fellowship of believers.
The question is not, “Is the Lord speaking to us?”, but “How will we respond?” If we are truly God’s servants we must respond as Joseph did. We must obey God’s commands. We must continue to carry out His commands by living in righteousness in the midst of a world that is trying to force us into its mold, to do what it wants, not what God commands. We must obey no matter what the consequences, or how the world will ridicule us. We must obey no matter what the cost.


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