Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet 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, called him by name, and told him not to be afraid to take Mary home with him as his wife… (Matthew 1)
Here Joseph was, pledged to be married… and now his Promised One was pregnant – by another.
Ouch. That had to have hurt.
… how could it not?
But Joseph took time to consider
… and he chose kindness.
He chose quiet grace.
Joseph was a godly man, faithful and reverent of God’s law, and his betrothed obviously was not.
He must have felt a plethora of emotions: shock, pain, betrayal, anger – sweet Mary full with another man’s child and now blaming it on God?! Ummm, really?
Joseph could have so easily clung to all the emotion he felt in a tightly closed fist of righteous pride. He could have chosen to be vengeful. He could have let the law justify his pain and had Mary stoned. It was, by law, his “right.”
But instead, he took time to consider.
Time to chill out.
Time to listen.
Time to choose most wisely.
Yes, he decided, he would do what was right under the law when there was unfaithfulness– he would divorce her – but he would do it kindly and quietly with grace.
But check this out: It was only “after he had considered this…” that God intervened.
God could have played out this whole scene differently. He could have sent Gabriel to Joseph and Mary at the same time. He could have set the scene from the beginning – an intimate moment with the glow of Gabriel’s entrance – a united duo with a noble commission sent forth to save the world with the radiance of the shared vision, common purpose, committed obedience.
Or God could have come to Joseph in the night, before proverbial poop hit the enemy’s fan, and let the poor guy in on the secret before he had to “consider” any such action.
God could have prevented Joseph’s internal struggle in so many ways I mean, seriously, does God always have to make it so stinkin’ hard?!
No, but Sin does.
Sin is easy: trusting in ourselves; trusting in what we see with our eyes; not trusting God – those are the easy choices.
Maybe Joseph’s most noble, courageous act in this whole affair was the simple fact that Joseph took time to consider,
and in that window of precious time he was able to choose kindness wrapped in quiet grace.
Yes, God could have handled this sensitive predicament a whole lot of different ways,
God waited for Joseph.
He waited until “after he had considered this…”
And then He stepped in and called him by name.
“Fear not, Joe. You did good. Now, let me let you in on a little secret…”
Lord, you are not in a hurry. You wait for me. Then you step in and call me by name. You know me. Help me to always wait and consider. (And Lord, I’ll take any nudge you want to give me.)
Watering Today: Prov. 28; ps 28, 128; Jeremiah 31-32; Matthew 1