Unrealized Love

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.

God is With Us

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:10-14

Ahaz was king of Judah and found himself in a difficult spot. He was threatened by Israel and Syria to the north. Their kings threatened to join forces and invade Judah to the south. God wanted to speak to Ahaz regarding this but Ahaz was afraid to ask for a sign from God. God gave Ahaz infinite parameters: the sign could be as high as heaven and deep as hell! Ahaz saw asking God for a sign as putting God to the test.

God ignored Ahaz’s hesitancy and answered him anyway! As a matter of fact, the language suggests that God was wearied by Ahaz’s refusal to ask for what he needed. So God answered the question Ahaz never asked! His answer: I will be with you. The sign was both for Ahaz and for us.

For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. Isaiah 7:16

In Ahaz’s day, a woman conceived and gave birth to a boy and named him Immanuel. By the time the boy was weaned Israel and Syria had fallen and were no longer a threat to Judah. God made a promise and kept it.  Tomorrow we will see how Joseph struggled just like Ahaz…and again God showed up and answered.

What do you need to ask God for today? What are you afraid to mention? Embarrassed? Shy? Hesitant? Don’t weary Him…ask!