Morning by Morning, December 12 - "Do Not Be Afraid"
Good morning, Lord Jesus. O Lord, my God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- You are welcome into my heart and into my day. ...
"Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with Child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the Child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel,' which means, 'God is with us'" (Matthew 1:18-23).
As I read this story with the eyes of Your Spirit this morning, I see something different in this familiar passage of Scripture. I've always thought of Joseph as being shocked and angry at Mary, extremely disappointed in the revelation of her pregnancy, supposing her to have been unfaithful. But when You spoke to him through the angel in his dream, You didn't tell him "Do not be angry" or "Do not be disappointed." Instead, You said "Do not be afraid."
That touches me in a new way. It moves me to see Joseph in a different way than I've seen him before. I've seen him as compassionate and forgiving and righteous, because he didn't want to expose Mary to disgrace. But now I also see that he was feeling afraid to take her as his wife, which means he must have been desiring to still take her as his wife -- despite all he knew and all he suspected -- but he was afraid. No doubt he was also angry and hurt and disappointed, but of all those mixed emotions, You spoke directly to his fear above all else.
What was he afraid of? ... He was probably afraid of what people would think, afraid of how he would be judged, maybe even ridiculed and mocked. He was probably afraid of what people would say -- "How could you just forgive her? Have you no respect for yourself? What kind of message does that send to our kids and our community if you allow her to have no consequences for her actions? You're just as bad as she is, just as deserving of our judgment and disgust."
But You spoke to his heart. Your perfect love filled his heart and cast out his fear. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Faith in You and Your word to him overcame all his fear of whatever would be said and whatever he would face. He knew in his heart You would be with him (Matthew 1:23). So when he woke from his sleep, he did just as You said, so that love and faith won his heart and saved the day to prepare the way of the Lord to come (Matthew 1:24).
Like Joseph, set me free from the fear of what people think. Fill me with Your love and faith to embrace my calling and fulfill my destiny, no matter how anybody else may judge my choices to follow You and what I believe You've spoken into my heart. "The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure" (Proverbs 29:25). Deliver me from every insecurity, so that I may awake and arise each day to walk in faith, trusting in You and secure in Your word to me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
May you awaken and arise to walk in faith, free from every insecurity and fear, trusting in the Lord and His word to you every day, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!