K nowing God Part 2: How well do you know God? In part one of this series, I confessed that (in spite of the fact that I've been a Christian for over 20 years) I still don't feel like I know God very well. It troubles me. I'd like to know Him as I do my family members or best friends. But He's different, so I guess I'd like to know Him as well as a person can know Him...if that makes any sense. So, I'm setting out to know God better. I'm starting with the book of Matthew. I have no idea where I'll stop.
Official Disclaimer: I don't claim to be a theological guru. I haven't graduated seminary. I'm not a pastor. I'm doing this series of posts just because I want to know God better. I'm sharing it online, not to teach others--though I'd be pretty happy if God used this to help others get to know Him better also. I'm not doing this to argue--though, if people have related ideas to share, I'm all ears. I'm simply posting this to explore and maybe encourage others to explore. If you are a young reader, run everything by your parents. They are your spiritual authority. See what they think. And, as the Bible tells us: If on some point, we disagree, pray about it, and may God give us clarity.
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, 12 she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 1:19 Because Joseph, her husband to be, 13 was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her 14 privately. 1:20 When he had contemplated this, an 15 angel of the Lord 16 appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21 She will give birth to a son and you will name him 17 Jesus, 18 because he will save his people from their sins.” 1:22 This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: 1:23 “Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him 19 Emmanuel,” 20 which means 21 “God with us.” 22 1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord 23 told him. He took his wife, 1:25 but did not have marital relations 24 with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named 25 Jesus.
Initial Take: This is just my knee-jerk reaction to the text. Whatever pops into my mind. Heaven help me.
I like how God took this guy Joseph, who is in the Davidic line, and drops him into a man's "worst case scenario. "Hey, Mary-baby, I'm so glad we're engaged."
"Uh, honey, uhm, funny you should mention 'baby.' I'm pregnant, and the baby's not yours."
Train wreck. Bridge collapse. Pick any disaster image you want. This is the end of the world for a man. But Joseph is a prince among men, so even though by cultural rights, he could have done much worse to Mary, he decides to give her a quiet divorce.
I can only imagine Joseph's anguish over this situation. But when the dream comes, the world is turned upside down, and the stakes are beyond reckoning. God drops the bomb: you, Joseph get to be Daddy to the Savior, the Messiah, to God with us. Can you imagine the pressure? I feel it with my own kids. When I see a bad habit of mine that the kids have adopted, it hurts. I can't imagine trying to raise THE SAVIOR.
It seems odd to me that there's less focus on Mary in this section of text and more about Joseph. Mary did the heavy lifting by carrying Jesus for nine months. And given that she was so young, I can't imagine what she must have felt through the process.
Knowing God Take-Away: What do I learn about God from Matt 1:18-25? 1) God is supernatural. In our lives, in this world, there are natural laws. A man and a woman can get together and have a baby, but for that to occur, certain "things" need to happen first. God doesn't have to abide by our restrictions. For us, a physical body has limits. We can only do so much. Not so with God. There are no limits. Thus, Mary, a virgin, becomes pregnant by the Holy Spirit. God's supernatural traits are hugely present in this short text. Next, we have Joseph napping, and an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream. Have you ever "tried" to have a certain dream? You know, you try to program your mind to think on certain things, so that the dream goes where you want it? Doesn't usually work. It's also impossible for one of us to make ourselves show up in someone else's dream. But God can do that. He is supernatural. That is both comforting to me and scary. I like that God can do supernatural things, that He can do a trillion times better than I can. But, His supernatural-ness also makes me wonder how I can ever really know Him.
2) The next thing I notice about God is that He likes to get others involved in what He's doing. When I was growing up, my parents didn't really let me help with stuff that much. Especially when I was little. I was a bit clumsy and very curious. So if my dad went to work rebuilding the fence in the back yard, I wanted to help. But, more often than not, I screwed up. I guess after a while, my parents figured it was better for everyone's health and blood pressure if I didn't "help" so much. But God, He doesn't seem to be like that. In this one section of text, we see God get an angel to deliver messages. We see God choose a guy and a gal to, get this: be the parents of the Savior of the world. Pretty sure neither Joseph nor Mary had ever done that before. But God said, "You two. I choose you." He doesn't seem to care much about our experience or our clumsiness. And that…is an encouraging thought.
Til next time.
*All Scriptures from the NET Bible: http://net.bible.org/#!bible/Matthew+1