'TRUST in GOD & OBEY’ – for there is NO other WAY: "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus." (Matt. 1:24-25)
One of the most striking features of the Gospel of Matthew is that it begins and ends with the great truth that “God is with us” (see Matt. 1:23; 28:20). He is Immanuel (“God with us”) and He is also God like us because He took our nature and entered into human life and experience. As Matthew recorded these events, he realized that a new era had dawned in the history of God’s dealings with the human race. The words of a messianic prophecy spoken by God through His prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14), which were long dormant had now sprung to life!
As a result of the angel’s intervention, Joseph abandoned his plan to divorce his fiancée Mary, and continued to recognize their betrothal until Jesus’ birth. Joseph’s righteous character is seen in his desire to separate from what appears to be sexual infidelity. His plan to do it privately shows that he was not interested in protecting his own reputation at the expense of Mary’s. In taking Mary as his wife, Joseph also took her Child as his adopted Son. This is how Jesus Christ became legal heir to the throne of David, and thus the Messiah-King was born into this world.
The fact that Joseph explicitly followed the angel’s instructions demonstrates his righteous obedience by trusting in God. Joseph did exactly as the angel of the Lord had told him, without any hesitation and cheerfully. Joseph ‘trusted and obeyed’ the angel’s command to take Mary as his wife. If Joseph had been disobedient, the entire mission of Jesus’ entry into our world as a human being may have been put at risk. Jesus would have been born to an unwed mother. Mary would have been stoned to death on account of adultery as per the laws given by Moses. Through trusting and obeying the angel, Joseph was willing to risk his reputation in order to participate in and facilitate God’s plan for humankind.
When we probe a little further regarding the incidents connected to the birth of Jesus, it was not only Joseph, but Mary, the shepherds and even the wise men did exactly as they were told. Joseph took Mary home to be his wife even after knowing that she was pregnant; Mary yielded herself to God to bear and deliver the holy child into this world; the shepherds went to Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus in a manger, and the wise men departed to their homes on a different route without informing King Herod who would have killed the baby Jesus immediately without any hesitation.
Today and always, let us also trust in God’s Word and obey it completely, for there is no other way that will be beneficial for us for "there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Prov. 14:12) Let us pay attention to the lyrics that John H. Sammis had developed many years ago that still speaks to us of this great truth concerning trusting in God and obeying Him:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.