Saturday, December 24, 2016

Allow God's presence to grow

The name Joseph comes from the Hebrew root Yosef, which means, "He will add," or "God increases."

In the Old Testament, we meet one named Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, the one who struggled with God. The special treatment Joseph received from his father and the large ego that developed from it, prompted his 11 brothers to sell him into slavery. Through a series of God-ordained circumstances, Joseph was appointed manager of the food supply of Egypt during a devastating famine. This Joseph showed God's increase in his personal life -- rising from slave to government official -- and in his public life by saving Israel when the famine threatened the nation with starvation.

Now Mary's fiance Joseph is also a wonderful example of God's increase. When it would have been much easier to separate from Mary and the child she was having, Joseph listened to God and stayed with her. He didn't take matters into his own hands, but allowed God to work in his life, and the lives of Mary and their child. At the prompting of God, Joseph names the baby Jesus, takes his family to Egypt when threatened and brings them back when an angel tells him it is safe to do so. Joseph consistently gets out of the way to make room for God to do God's work in his life. He allows God to add to him, rather than trying to force his own will, even when God's plans completely alter the course of his life. We need to be more like Joseph, someone in whom the presence of God grows large.