It’s hard for us to imagine what it must’ve been like for Joseph in the Bible when he found out that his ‘wife’ was pregnant… and they had never been together.
During Bible times, Hebrew marriage customs were much different than today. Marriages were ‘arranged’ by parents and after the contracts were negotiated and agreed upon… the couple were officially ‘husband and wife’, even though they were not sexually intimate. In fact, they were not intimate for the course of entire year! (Now that’s commitment).
What was the purpose of this?
The waiting period was to demonstrate the faithfulness of the pledge of purity concerning the bride. If she got pregnant in that year, she was not pure and the marriage could be annulled. If she wasn’t pregnant, there would be a grand processional march back to the groom’s home, he would put on some Marvin Gaye and the rest was history.
Within that first year, Mary became pregnant.
I can imagine the pain in Joseph’s heart when he found that out. He loved Mary. He had envisioned a life together with her. He cared more about ‘her’ than himself.
You see that in his response.
When he could have gotten even…
When he could have embarrassed her…
When he could have decided to run her name through the mud…
The Bible tells us:
“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:19
This is before an angel shows up. This is before he understands what is taking place. This is before God fills in all the blanks. This is before every answer has been given.
Joseph was a ‘just man’.
Joseph, in that moment, had a choice on how he would respond. He could choose one way or the other. But, because of his character as a ‘just man’, he chose grace.
Jesus said this about our Father in heaven…
“…For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45b
You have a choice on how you are going to react when the rug gets pulled out on you. You have a decision to make when things don’t go your way or you are dragged down the dark road of despair because of the decisions and actions of another. I want to encourage you today…
Choose to be that ‘just person’. Choose to be the ‘bigger person’. Choose to hold your head high and believe that a God who is greater than your current situation may even use it for His glory in your life.
Say this prayer: “God, help me to be just. Help me to choose grace. Help me to forgive. Help me see your fingerprints on my life even when things don’t make sense. I choose today to trust you. Help my heart follow my head. I love you. Amen.”