Sunday Jan. 5
Scripture: Matthew 2:19-23
Joseph is often lifted up as an example of humility and compassion. In bringing his family back to Israel after years of exile in Egypt, Joseph shows he is shrewd and wise as well.
While in Egypt, Joseph learns from an angel in a dream that King Herod has died and it is safe to return to Israel. Now that he knows what he must do, we might expect Joseph to rush back to Bethlehem (which may well have been his hometown) and reestablish a more normal life for his family as quickly as possible. What could there be to worry about? God has told him what to do and surely God will look out for him.
Joseph, however, avoids the common mistake many of us make: We hear God tell us what to do and then we assume that we can go about accomplishing the task any way we want. Then we become disillusioned when it doesn’t work out. Joseph, on the other hand, asks God to show him not only whatto do, but also howto do it.
Joseph grows concerned about how to return to Israel when he learns that Herod’s son, Archelaus, is now ruling over Israel. So, Joseph is open to the guidance God provides in another dream to settle in Nazareth, far to the north of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Surely, settling in Nazareth made Joseph’s life more complicated. He had to find housing and establish himself professionally in a new setting where he would have been something of an outsider. But he does it because he relies on God to provide both the what and the how.
Prayer: Almighty God, our provider and protector, give us faith to trust you to show us what you requires of us and the wisdom to seek your guidance for how to live out our calling. Amen.