Do It Now!
The sermon series Pastor Parks is working on is about angels, and the message yesterday revolved around Joseph and the three appearances that Gabriel made to the man who would become the adoptive father of the Messiah and Saviour of mankind.
"...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'" (Matthew 1:20).
"When they [the wise men] had all gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up,' he said, 'take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him'" (Matthew 2:13).
"After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead" (Matthew 2:19).
We know very little about this man but here is one thing we know for sure—Joseph obeyed God. And his obedience was not something that happened after he weighed the pros and cons or consulted anyone or allowed the instructions to simmer on the back burner for a while.
In Matthew 1:24, the writer says: "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded and took Mary home as his wife."
In Matthew 2:14, 15: "So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Out of Egypt I called my son.'"
In Matthew 2:21: "So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel."
Bottom line: If God has spoken to you and instructed you to do something—GET UP AND DO IT IMMEDIATELY!
You and I know the number of times we have been prompted by the Spirit of God to do something, call someone, say something, be something, and we have hesitated. Sometimes we have not obeyed. Sometimes we have obeyed, but missed God's perfect timing and the perfect opportunity.
Sometimes we have been held back by our fears (a very good reason why the angel is forever saying "Don't be afraid!" to those to whom he delivers messages on behalf of God).
Joseph didn't hesitate and he had plenty of reason to do so. He was being asked to do huge things that could be not only misunderstood, but were downright dangerous.
Today we have the benefit of having the Word of God which clearly tells us what God asks of us. But oddly enough we often hesitate to do what He says and even go so far as to ask Him for guidance in areas that He has already spoken about. Somehow we hope He has changed His mind, or that He will make an exception for us.
Joseph's example is an apt one. He heard the message and he set out to obey the instructions immediately.
This is one of those times when Jesus' words in Luke 10:37 needed to be heeded: "...Go and do likewise."
Joseph's obedience was critical to the Christmas story, to the safe arrival and preservation of the life of the Baby who would grow up to change the face of history. Our obedience probably will never be so critical as to save the world, but it will change our lives and perhaps be an influence for good in someone else's life.
Get up and go!