Part of a Bigger Plan
Sometimes we are too close to the action to see it in perspective. Joseph's dilemma of how best to handle the situation of Mary's unexpected pregnancy was massive, until God told him that his betrothed wife had not been impure, but was carrying God’s Son. However, Matthew, as he wrote his Gospel, wanted us to view the young couple through the prophecy of Isaiah. What was happening to Mary and Joseph was part of a much bigger plan.
700 years previously, Isaiah had announced that God would come to earth to live among His people, having been born as a baby to a young woman who had never slept with anybody. The virgin's conception was all in God's plan, as was the inclusion of Joseph in the drama. Both their roles were embedded in Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel." Joseph was included in the word ‘they’ (which was in the Bible text which he would have learned), because God gave him the guardianship responsibility to give Immanuel the personal name, 'Jesus' (Matthew 1:21).
God is always ahead of our circumstances. He does not rush around trying to repair a broken world, responding to emergency calls from a dysfunctional world. His Word comes first, and all that happens is shaped by what He says. Every rescue has been planned long before any disaster strikes. That truth brought peace and purpose to Joseph. The events around him took on a new meaning as God's message to Mary was confirmed; not only in his dream but also by God's written Word. Matthew intended us to understand this principle - long-term Christian discipleship is impossible without the assurance that God is in command. Ultimately His Word (and not the circumstances) will achieve God’s purpose. It is an amazing privilege to be included in God’s plan: trust His Word because it will always bring the right outcome and our blessing (Romans 8:28).
© Dr Paul Adams