During our Wednesday night Bible Study we are studying the Book of Matthew. In chapter one, while reading about Joseph’s reaction to Mary’s pregnancy, I came across a statement that stood out to me. At the time of her pregnancy, Mary and Joseph were betrothed, but not married. Which meant they were still pledged to celibacy. If Joseph claimed the baby, he would become unrighteous. If Joseph denied the baby, then Mary would have been guilty of adultery, which was punishable by death. In Matthew 1:19, Joseph decides to put Mary away. The phrase used “to put her away” when interpreted, means to divorce. In the the verses following, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph. In verse 20 the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife…”
The angel of the Lord told Joseph not to fear. That stood out to me. It sounded familiar. In Genesis 15:1, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Abram, He said, “Do not fear.” In Genesis 26:24, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Isaac, He said, “Do not fear”. I could go on and on. All through out the Old Testament, when the angel of the Lord appeared, He often told his listener not to fear. In the age of the prophets, He did so by speaking through the prophets. As I studied, I found one consistency. Every time the words “fear not” were spoken, they were immediately followed with the plan or direction of God including a declaration of His faithfulness. What a wonderful God we serve that instated of getting frustrated with our lack of faith, He reassures us to not fear, but trust because He is faithful.
Just yesterday I had to take my 6 year old son to get stitches in his chin. When we were at the doctor’s, he was overcome with fear. He already had a run in with staples so he knew what was coming. He was terrified that it was going to hurt. As his dad, I tried to reassure him, but it was to no avail. He was so scared that it was going to hurt that he was convinced it hurt. At one point, no one was touching him and he yelled “Stop, your hurting me.” With how much numbing medication they put it on his cut, there is no way he felt anything other than pressure, but he was convinced he was in extreme pain.
I couldn’t help but see the correlation. How many times have I conjured up less then authentic results because I have blocked out the voice of God that says “Fear not.”? How many times has God tried to reassure me that He is with me and is faithful, only for me to still be afraid? How many times do I allow fear to replace faith? Can you relate? In Matthew 1:24, after the angel of the Lord finished speaking, we are told that Joseph arose and did as the angel commanded. May the Lord help us all to be more like Joseph.