Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Joseph, Mary and Jesus. God did not make easy for Joseph. But He gave him dreams that saved his marriage


Joseph, Mary and Jesus. God did not make easy for Joseph. But He gave him dreams that saved his marriage

By Julio Severo
The correct way for people to be married is no sex and no pregnancy before marriage. But this did not happen in Joseph’s case — not because of his decisions or sexual impulses. He was not to blame.
His bride told him she was pregnant. And she said that God did it to her.
By the knowledge he had from the Scriptures, there was absolutely no case of God doing it to any woman in the Scriptures. If Joseph discussed it with theologians, they would assure him: “There is no Scripture support for a pregnancy by God. This goes against Scriptures!”
The sense of human righteousness would say to Joseph: “Your bride betrayed you! She could have chosen to leave you to have sex with another man, but she chose to do it while officially engaged to you! Betrayal!”
Any other man, with this sense of righteousness, would leave her and make sure that everyone learned about her infidelity and betrayal. After all, in a way or other he was also being humiliated by her “betrayal.”
Yet, Joseph’s righteousness was not grounded on human feelings. It was grounded in the Scriptures, in a righteous and merciful God.
“Her husband Joseph was an honorable man and did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the marriage agreement with her secretly.” (Matthew 1:19 GWV)
“Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.” (Matthew 1:19 Message)
“Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary.” (Matthew 1:19 The Voice)
In Joseph’s mind, there was a sin: Mary pregnant outside marriage by other man. It was his moral right to bring embarrassment to her for what she did against him and his marriage. But he chose mercy in a situation involving sin.
In that time, women could be stoned by sex outside marriage.
What made him change his mind? Some powerful theological advice? No such advice would be available, because all theologians would agree that God was not involved in such pregnancy.
“While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant.’” (Matthew 1:20 Message)
When God’s Word and its official interpreters (theologians) seem not to have an answer for such dramatic situations, God speaks — in dreams, in visions and other powerful ways, even a voice. And God spoke to Joseph.
Joseph did not understand why only his bride was chosen to get pregnant outside marriage by the Holy Spirit. Obviously, no one else would believe it, perhaps even with the assistance of a dream.
Of course, the followers of Jesus would believe, because they had contact with the same Holy Spirit who had impregnated Mary. They had dreams, visions and supernatural gifts from the Holy Spirit. When theologians are unable to explain what God does, the Holy Spirit explains. And often He does not explain why and how, but only that it was God.
God could have sent his angel to Joseph to say: “After your marriage to Mary, I want you to live in abstinence for some months, because the Holy Spirit will impregnate her.”
Of course, Mary would also need a dream or vision to confirm such humanly ridiculous declaration. Such arrangement (a divine pregnancy after marriage) would spare Mary and Joseph public embarrassment and would greatly facilitate the maintenance of their sexual and religious reputation.
Yet, God chose not to spare her and him. Now, this was only between God and both of them. No one else would understand it. Even theologians in their time would not understand it, because there was absolutely no Scripture support for it.
God did not make easy for Joseph and Mary. If He had let them choose if they wanted or not an embarrassing pregnancy outside marriage, they would answer NO. They would ask God for a non-embarrassing way.
But the total choice was His, and their only answer should be: to accept His supernatural interventions, including angel visitations and dreams.
When they did not understand, they let God speak. And He did. And they listened.
Yet, there are no theological dreams. They are from God, not theology. Later, after the birth of Jesus, Joseph had a dream telling him to flee for Egypt. (See Matthew 2:13) He fled with Mary and boy Jesus and saved His life. But if he had consulted the Bible for literal direction and advice about fleeing for Egypt, he would never do it. Why? Because there are many Bible passages where God commands not to flee for Egypt.
So in an attempt to conciliate his personal dream with the Bible, Joseph would never flee for Egypt. Evidently, his case was prophetically in the Bible, but there is no evidence that in that time Joseph understood it.
Joseph had and accepted the dreams not to produce new doctrines, but to save first his marriage and later his son.
Dreams are not to produce new core doctrines, but to guide men and women who believe in the Bible how to save their lives, marriages, jobs and other people.
If Joseph had depended only on the literal teaching of the Scriptures, which were silent on his particular case, or on their official interpreters (theologians), he would have left Mary.
But a dream changed his life. A dream saved his marriage. A dream helped him save baby Jesus. God’s strategy is often to confront enemies. David, with God’s assistance, did it to Goliah. In contrast, God wanted Joseph to flee to a nation He had told often to Israel: Do not flee to there!
Dreams do big miracles when the individual receiving them has his mind and heart filled with God’s Word.
If he were a non-theological unbeliever, Joseph would say, “God saved my marriage from a problem He himself provoked!” He would add: “Instead of provoking problems, God should have given me houses and riches.”
If he were a theological unbeliever (a modern cessationist), he would have rejected dreams, visions and Mary and her pregnancy by the Holy Spirit. If a woman said to a cessationist that that she received an angel visitation, he would send her to a psychiatrist. Thank God, Joseph was not a cessationist!
Evidently, Joseph would have loved if God had told him: “I will give you a major government job!” After all, God is powerful and can give powerful blessings.
And if Mary were a modern woman and the angel had given her an opportunity to choose between a high-paying job and a pregnancy, she would choose the first option, and both she and Joseph would jump for joy!
Yet, there was no dance in the case of Joseph, who did not understand what was happening. He loved God’s Word. And he respected Word’s masters (the Jewish theologians). But all of them were not enough to explain the strange events in his life, especially the very strange pregnancy of his bride. To go through his hard times, he chose to give preeminence to Word’s God and His dreams.
The God who helped Joseph with a dream promised to help people in our last days with the same supernatural resources:
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Ac 2:17 ESV)
“In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.” (Ac 2:17 Message)
With such resources, the impossible becomes possible and a prophetic God, with his prophetic plans, makes himself available to save your life and marriage.
Without dreams, it would have been impossible for Joseph to marry Mary.
His walk by faith with dreams from God is an example to everyone who love Jesus.
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