When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Matthew 1:25 (ESV)
I enjoy weddings. I really do! I have a unique advantage. Thirty minutes before the wedding I get to hang out with the groom. I’ve watched them pace, sweat and squirm. I’ve heard them chatter, tell not so funny jokes to pass the time, and wonder how many guests are arriving. Grooms are generally a nervous bunch.
I wonder what would happen if I told the groom that the wedding was on but the honeymoon was off. Many have saved themselves sexually for marriage. Joseph had. Premarital sex was unheard of in his day and punishable by death! Yet when Mary came to him announcing her pregnancy and Joseph was told by an angel to marry her anyway, everything changed. Obedience for Joseph wasn’t an easy road.
He took his wife. He properly married Mary.
But knew her not. He skipped the honeymoon. No sex. No physical expression of his love for her.
His obedience to God preempted his ability to have sex with his wife. Did he desire Mary sexually? Of course! Did he anticipate sexual intimacy with her? Every fiancé does! Was he sexually attracted to her? Absolutely!
He waited. Joseph chose the path of unrealized love because he realized Jesus’ love for Him and the world.
What do you want desperately but God says, “not now?” What are you tempted to do but shouldn’t? What sin entices you, draws you in, calls your name? He is Immanuel, God with you. He’s enough to give you power over sin and over your selfish desires.