The dream-Christmas through the eyes of a man. Part III
• JOSEPH’S DREAM
That night, as Joseph tossed fitfully in his sleep, God gave him a glimpse of his divine plan. An angel appears to Joseph in his dream and tells him, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21 NCV).
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us this part, but I’m certain that before Joseph fell asleep that night, he first fell to his knees and prayed to God. He asked, “Why, God? Why would she do this? Why does it hurt so bad? What have I done to deserve this?” More than anything that night, Joseph needed a word from the Lord. He needed to hear from God. Can you relate to that?
Maybe you need God’s guidance and direction for your life. Maybe you just need his comfort and assurance. Whatever the reason, I think we all experience moments when we just need to hear from God. I don’t think the problem is that God doesn’t speak to us, though. The problem is—we’re not very good at listening.
I believe that one of most valuable lessons we can ever learn is how to listen to God. In the midst of our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, more necessary, or more rewarding than listening to what God has to say. And I believe that God speaks just as powerfully today as he did to Joseph. His voice wants to be heard! He may not speak to us through a burning bush like he with Moses or through a dream like he did Joseph—but God still speaks!
Sometimes God may speak to us through a restless spirit. Other times, God uses another person’s words to speak to us—a poignant sermon that just happens to speak to your immediate needs or a spiritually insightful book that does the same. Sometimes God gives us unusual blessings to get our attention. Other times he may use disappointments, difficulties, and dilemmas for the very same reason. Sometimes God speaks to us through recurring themes—a subject that keeps coming up in a variety of ways. God may even impress a specific message into our hearts through his Spirit; what Bill Hybels calls “the quiet whispers of the transcendent God.” In each of these and other similar circumstance, we ought to turn to God and ask, “God, are you speaking to me? I’m listening.”
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27 NLT). The opening words of the book of Hebrews assures us, “Long ago God spoke in many different ways to our fathers through the prophets, in visions, dreams, and even face-to-face, telling them little by little about his plans. But now in these days he has spoken to us through his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2 TLB).
The question is—are you listening? And if you do hear God’s voice… do you have the guts to respond? Joseph did. The final scene in Joseph’s story reveals Joseph’s decision.
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