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The Rest of the Story

December 17th, 2012

Making directional decisions without the wisdom of God can be hazardous.

“Joseph . . being a just man decided . .” Matthew 1:19 NLT.

This morning, I saw a practical application in the Christmas story that my familiarity had previously obscured. I love those times when the Holy Spirit opens one’s heart to an enriched understanding of an already familiar Scripture. Before reading my comments any further, I suggest you read the story of Joseph. Matthew 1:18-25 NKJV.

There will be times when circumstances require decisive action. But be extra careful in such moments. Making directional decisions without the wisdom of God can be hazardous. James 1:5 NIV. The information you know is probably partial, correct but incomplete. Solomon observed the folly of a person, “who answers a matter before he hears it.” Proverbs 18:13 NKJV. Yet people do that all the time, especially when the few facts they know are difficult to hear.

Joseph and Mary had planned their life together; they were engaged and waiting to be married. All was well, until an angel’s pronouncement to Mary rearranged every assumption about hers and Joseph’s future. Read Luke 1:26-36 NKJV. The angel’s visit to Mary changed everything, but at least she had all the truth, directly from Heaven. When you do not know what you do not yet know, a wise decision is chance or providence. When you know what God knows, your situation and future make sense.

Joseph was not as fortunate as Mary, at least not initially. Possibly others, but probably Mary, related this new information to Joseph. It was a strange story indeed. They were not yet married, but Mary was pregnant and some difficult and important decisions had to be made and the sooner the better. Joseph would have to make hard choices, but he did not realize that he did not yet have the facts that God alone knew. He almost missed God’s plan for his life and for Mary’s.

Joseph wanted to do the right thing, but what was the right thing to do? He loved Mary; he didn’t want to shame or hurt her. He was hurting enough for both of them. The Bible records, “Then Joseph . . being a just man, and not wanting to make [Mary] a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” Matthew 1:19 NKJV. In a dilemma, Joseph did what I have done on occasion, when not careful. Ostensibly for Mary’s well-being, he considered their situation, evaluated his options, and then made the best decision he could. Here is what Joseph did not do; he did not wait on God for the rest of the story. That’s always a mistake. Bring every matter to God for His wisdom and direction before acting. There are always other lives touched by your uninformed decisions.

God is so gracious. “And an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream . . ‘Joseph, do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit’ . . When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded.” Matthew 1:20/24 NLT. Joseph listened to God, rather than his own reasoning. Listen to your heart in those quiet times when you “feel” there are things you don’t know but need to know. See Isaiah 30:21 NIV. Don’t rush ahead of God; wait on the Lord for wisdom and trust His faithful direction. Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV

My prayer for you today is that your heart includes God in every decision and direction.

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