Most of us understand that obeying God is what we should want to do. There are some decisions that probably won’t change our lives. When I go into a restaurant, I’m handed a menu. I must make a choice about what I’m going to eat. My husband used to tell me, “Linda, it’s not your last meal. Just choose something.”
But not everything in our lives should be a choice. There are some things and some people that I should obey–speed laws, my husband, my boss. God wants us to learn how to obey Him in the same way that Joseph learned.
In Matthew 1:24 we read about Joseph, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel had told him to do. Joseph took Mary as his wife.”
Mary was going to have a baby and the baby didn’t belong to Joseph. Being a good man, Joseph wanted to do good to Mary. He had decided that he would send her away; and she would have the baby. But an angel came to him and told Joseph that God was the father of this baby. In spite of the obvious objections and misgivings, Joseph decided to obey God.
Joseph did have a choice but his choice was to obey. Obedience was an option; but if he did obey he would be in big trouble. I can imagine that even after the angel had spoken to Joseph, he probably had concerns about obeying.
He knew his life would be changed forever. He knew that this baby was not his child. His family, friends and neighbors would suspect him for getting Mary pregnant before they were married. He knew that for a lifetime he would live in shame because no one would understand.
Obeying God may take many forms. When we get ready to make an important decision, such as buying a house or changing jobs, who do we want to please? Our husband or wife, our children, our boss or ourselves. Do we think about pleasing God?
When we are ready to make a smaller decision, when we are with our boy/girl friend, who do we want to please? Ourselves? Our boy/girlfriend? Or the Lord?
When it is time to be generous in regard to our money? Do we want to please God. Or do we want to soothe our conscious?
Joseph did obey because God sent an angel to instruct him. Good sense said that Joseph would not have a good life, if he chose to obey God. Joseph made the right choice. He married Mary. For eternity, Joseph will be honored for that decision. Yet, he could not see the future and making the decision was not easy. There are times that we obey only because we know that it is what God wants.