Obedience vs. Faithfulness

21 Jun

A post from several years ago about really following Christ.

24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25

Being obedient is tough.  At times, very tough.  I know there were many instances while growing up, my parents wished I would not so easily disobey them.  For whatever reason, quite possibly the fall of man, I have a natural disdain for authority.  It does not always show itself.  A lot of times it lingers under the surface, finally manifesting as a belief that I know more, and that my way is better than that of such and such authority figure.  Nonetheless, I do not like authority and the mere thought of following all the rules set before me causes me to become slightly agitated.

When I read two verses such as these, I come face to face with my dislike for authority.  Joseph shows much obedience in this passage.  He follows what the angel has told him to do, but that is not all he does.  Verse 25 shows just how faithful Joseph was.  He refrained from having sex with Mary until after Jesus was born.  This was going above and beyond what was required of him.  The angel did not tell him to abstain until Jesus was born.  Joseph followed that out of his own desire for faithfulness.  The 18th chapter of Leviticus records various sexual laws, which Joseph would have been familiar with.  There is not a single mention of not having sex with a pregnant woman, if that woman was your wife.  In fact one of the only Jewish laws that applied to this situation was found in Deuteronomy 24:5.

“If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him, for one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”

The Hebrew word translated as happiness, is not very ambiguous.  Joseph had the right to enjoy Mary as his wife, yet he did not.  He knew this was a special situation and required extreme faithfulness that went beyond surface level obedience.  He followed through with that faithfulness too.

My dislike for authority comes shining through when I drive.  I rarely drive under the speed limit and few times right at the speed limit.  Theoretically, I should only drive the speed limit when I am in the biggest hurry and under it the rest of the time.  This is the level of faithfulness Joseph showed here.

Today I urge you to leave His footprints by having faithfulness that goes far beyond obedience.

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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Bible, Culture, Life


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