Monday, December 22, 2014

"Wholly Devoted"

My pastor said something in his message this Sunday that made stop and think about what amazingly impressive people Joseph and Mary were. I say that because of how they responded to God and the birth of Jesus into their family. It made me stop and consider one more time just how much God knows us. He knew them. He knew that they loved Him and they could be entrusted with the job of raising Jesus. Think for a moment about Mary's response after Elizabeth's greeting.  ...And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, ad blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
And Mary said:
      "My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our father's, to Abraham and to his seed forever."  Luke 1:41-55

I say look at her response because it contains 15 discernible quotations from the Old Testament which shows us how much the Old Testament was not just known but loved in the home that Jesus was raised. Mary's response to the angel Gabriel after he fills her in on things is, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." and her response to the first person she comes in contact with about the event is full of an overflow of the word of God. Jesus said that "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34) and Mary's heart was obviously overflowing as words like, "My soul magnifies the Lord," came rushing out!

What about Joseph? He too was wholly devoted with a love for God. How many men do you know who are willing to not only care for but to provide for a child not his own? Truth is, that there are good men out there who do just that but take a closer look at what Joseph did and why.  ...Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."  .... Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:19-25

Joseph had a dream. In it an angel filled him in on what was going on and told him what to do. Without hesitation Joseph knew it was God talking and obeyed!!! Three more times that we know of God spoke to Joseph  Matthew 2:13, 19-20, 22 and each time, without question, Joseph obeyed. He knew God's leading in his life and even though it meant a great personal sacrifice he packed up his family, started over in a new place, and just plain obeyed God each time in order to keep them safe. He was obviously a man who knew and loved God to make such sacrifices without question. Joseph obviously knew God and trusted Him to lead him in the way he should go and the thing to take note of here is that God obviously knew that He could trust Joseph with the care of His Son, Jesus who would save His people from their sins.

Joseph and Mary are both shining examples to us of what it means to be wholly devoted to the Lord. They not only had hearts that responded to the voice of the Lord with, "Let it be to me according to your word." but they obeyed without question every time He spoke which tells me they were wholly devoted and to be honest the cool thing that stands out to me in this moment is ...that God knew it and He blessed them with the One who would save His people from their sins, His Son.  

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