Day 4 : HOW DOES HE KNOW?  Matt. 2: 20-23  

“But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

 “But as he considered these things..”  The things that he is considering are mind-boggling: My wife-to-be is pregnant; She says it’s God’s doing; How do I believe that? It sounds more like a desperate, outlandish excuse from a desperate woman. I love her and don’t want to destroy her life any further than it already is. My world has exploded within and around me. I’m devastated internally by all of this. God, what is going on?! How do I make any sense out of this?

(And I really think this is only scratching the surface of what is swirling in Joseph.)

 Exhausted, he falls asleep and in the peace of sleep, the not-striving, the giving up - God speaks!

An angel (Gabriel, God’s messenger) confirms the crazy story Mary has been telling him! How is this even possible?

 What follows is one of the biggest hurdles for me as I put myself in Joseph’s shoes.  How does he know that this was God and not just the lamb stew and emotional devastation? How is he so quick to attribute it to God? Granted, I have never had an angel show up and speak to me but I have had some crazy dreams. I have wanted something to be true so badly that I couldn’t see or think straight. Is God saying this or do I just want God to say it so badly?

 So often for me, I get stuck here. Playing out both sides of the question in my head, over and over.

Doubt, not in God really but in my ability to hear and discern his voice over my own. I’ve seen and experienced a lot of “the Lord told me to…” that felt way too much like “I really want …”.  This continues to be one of my greatest struggles in living out this Jesus life daily. So I am particularly caught by Joseph’s situation here.

Maybe I’m alone in this but I bet many of us experience something similar. Let’s try to listen and learn from Joseph today.


 Morning Pause: Reflect this morning on a time have you wrestled with “Is this really God or just your own desire?” What were the questions, the doubts? What goes on inside you in those times?

 Afternoon Pause: How do you discern the voice of God from all the voices within and around you? What are the challenges to that?

 Evening Pause: How can I cultivate a familiarity with the voice of God?     

Come closer. Come deeper. Come more often.