July 14, 2008

The Quiet Man

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph … did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him …
Matthew 1:24


For the next three days we will explore the vertical habit of saying “I'm listening” to God. A big part of our relationship with God consists of our talking to him. But the Lord also has a lot to say to us. So it's important for us to listen to God too. I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but the Bible doesn't record a single word spoken by Joseph, Mary's husband. On the one hand, that seems odd, given his important role in the events surrounding Jesus' birth. On the other hand, Joseph's quiet obedience says a lot. Joseph was someone we could describe this way: “His actions spoke louder than his words.” His silence reminds us that the best way to obey God is to actually do God's will and not just talk about it. There is a direct connection between hearing and obeying. Did you know that the English word obey is derived from the Latin verb meaning “to hear”? Obe-dient children listen to their parents. And obedient believers do what God tells them to do. The Bible clearly indicates the kinds of things faithful disciples should do. By forgiving others, respecting authority, and caring for the poor, we demonstrate that we are serious about listening to God. As it was for Joseph, our quiet obedience has a voice all its own.

Thank you, Lord, for showing us in your Word what obedience looks like. As we hear you speak to us in the Bible, help us to put it into practice. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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