Friday, December 19, 2008

what's with this bad news in the middle of an obedient journey...

This year has brought with it several "different dreams," and I have wondered if I didn't hear God correctly the first time. However, as I have learned to rest in the Lord, I have also begun to understand that He only gives me enough information to take the next step. So, I needn't feel frustrated and concerned when things don't go the way I expected them to...our Great and Holy God knew the circumstances would happen as they have. A professor in college used to say, "God is still in His throne" which has brought tremendous comfort time and time again. In this morning's advent devotional from the church I was a part of during college, Grete Carlson sheds an interesting light on our journeys of obedience.

“Up!” That’s how our text begins in The Message. “Get up,” in the NIV. Joseph started off immediately, it seems. He was told by the angel to go to Israel and once he arrived, he headed toward home, toward Judea, a destination we too would assume was God’s plan.

But while he was on his way, he got the local news from the local press about the latest evil ruler. What went wrong? Did he misunderstand? Hadn’t the angel said it was safe to return? So what’s with this bad news in the middle of an obedient journey? What he learned from the local press made one thing clear: Joseph’s logical assumption… that being sent “back to Israel” meant going back to Judea…was wrong. What should he do? He was afraid....

But now what? God sent His angel: “Warned by God in a dream...” (NASB) or “directed in a dream…” (Message) or “In a new dream” in a Norwegian Living Bible I access online. I’m grateful for this reminder of what is, perhaps, obvious. This was, indeed, a new dream. The first dream led him back to Israel, and then God gave him a new dream for this new day, for this new fear, for this new situation. God could redirect them because Joseph and his family were already on the move, a move of obedience based of the revelation of an earlier day. The text explains that God’s purposes were fulfilled in the process. Like Joseph, we do not always see those purposes.

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