Matthew 1:24-25 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
God’s ultimate provision is of His Son, to take the penalty for our sin and open the way for us to live in eternal fellowship with Him. We generally read and think about that provision only around Christmas, so having this passage at a different time of year seems a little out of place. However, whenever Jesus was born, these two verses cover close to nine months, so limiting them to December is unfortunate. The thing that strikes me as I read this right now is that God provided, but Mary and Joseph had to receive. Mary’s response, famously recorded in Luke 1:26-38, had to be met and supported by Joseph’s response, recorded here. Either could easily have said, “I don’t want this,” and rejected God’s provision. After all, they had no real idea how it was all going to work out, but they could see that it was going to demand a lot of them. All mankind is eternally in their debt for how they did respond. We don’t know what the ultimate use and/or purpose is of anything God provides, but we can have assurance that if He provided it, the end result will be good. We also don’t know how many people God intends to bless through what He provides to us. I have learned that nothing God gives is only for the immediate recipient; everything affects other people as well. Sometimes we are not much more than a transit point, but there is blessing in that for us as well. Sometimes God provides experiences that are painful for us at the time, but they enable us to minister His love and grace more effectively to others. We are to be grateful for those as well! As was demonstrated to Abraham on Mt. Moriah, God is indeed our Provider. (Genesis 22:14)
I have experienced the Lord’s provision in many, many ways. Some of those I have welcomed, and some not so much. I too have room to learn! God has provided amazingly just in this past year, but some in the church have actually run away from His provision, declining to participate in one way or another. Just yesterday we ran into someone who had been counting on that provision, and was deeply disappointed when they heard how things have turned out so far. Our situation is nowhere near as drastic as if Joseph had insisted he wasn’t going to take Mary home as his wife, but there are repercussions none the less. I am not to dwell on what has happened, but look to God in anticipation of what He is going to do from here. As was pointed out to me yesterday, He has done various nice things for us one after another in just the past two days. I need to recognize and be grateful for His provision in all its various forms. He is giving us opportunities to be part of His chain of supply to others, and we are to rejoice in that as well. Any time He supplies anything, we are to seek His purpose in that provision and rejoice to participate in His plans, for His glory.
Father, thank You indeed for the abundance of Your grace toward us. I am so prone to focus on irritations and fail to be grateful! Help me be fully useful to You and not get in the way of Your plans, forcing You to use someone else when You’d like to use me. Help me also not insist on being the one You use! May I indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!