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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Lessons from Joseph born in Bethlehem
Date Posted: June 4, 2023

One night a man lay sleeping peacefully and hopefully, settled in how his life would unfold. Nothing spectacular, mostly ordinary with a future of creating things with his hands. It would be a good living, maybe not rich, but good, with his young wife by his side.

One night that man lay awake tossing and turning, and the future looked so bleak. He had been betrayed. He was shamed. Life would not be so good. His life had suddenly shattered around him like over-fired pottery. His wife was found to be with child. She was his betrothed, and the official ceremony had not actually taken place. But they were wedded all the same.

He knew he had never laid a hand upon her in that way and had never known her intimately. He felt deeply betrayed. He wanted to believe her. He wanted to know that no man had known her. But... That story she told was too fantastical. She just woke up one morning with child? Bah. But... She had never lied before. But... She was with child. And... he intended to quietly set her aside... privately, without public shame. He was a righteous man.

(Matthew 1:18-2:23)

Joseph valued God’s Law and knew what God meant when He said He wanted tender hearts instead of sacrifice. Joseph thought he was showing mercy where the Law said stoning when he found out about Mary’s pregnancy.

"Joseph, go get your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."

Joseph immediately obeyed God. I believe that when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his dream that Joseph got up immediately and got Mary that night from her house and brought her home to be his wife. This did numerous things, but one thing it did was eliminate any shame Mary might be subjected to because of her pregnancy. Joseph didn’t say, ‘But God…’ He didn’t drag his feet trying to figure out “what it all meant”, he didn't ask "Why me, Lord?" He just got up and went and did God’s bidding.

How often do I hear children back talking their parents, and parents smiling at each other when it happens? It is worse than disobedience; it is dangerous... especially when we should obey God immediately. He is more than our Father, He is our God.

Joseph was a young man and passionate (they had eight kids including Jesus), but he was able to keep his hands off his wife until Jesus was born. That took considerable self-control, or perhaps God had a hand in that to help him… who knows? Joseph realized the importance of the virgin birth and behaved accordingly.

And if the Angel of the Lord wasn’t enough, Joseph had the testimony of the Magi who brought Gold Frankincense and Myrrh. These were gifts signifying the royalty of the child. Gold was given to kings. Frankincense and Myrrh were spices used in the embalming process developed by the Egyptians. Only royalty and nobles received the ultimate type of embalming where these spices were used. That kind of embalming cost about $2,000 in today's money. I believe God had these Magi give these gifts so that Joseph and Mary could sell the spices in Egypt for a good price in order for them to live comfortably until it was time to go home to Galilee.

Sadly, I am not sure God would be able to find such a young man today. God would have preserved one for Himself, to be sure, but since He constantly searches the hearts of men, I wonder what He actually sees.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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