January 2

Text: Matthew 1:19

And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. (NASB)

The man wanted to do the “right thing.”  However, what was the “right thing” to do?  The woman he was engaged to was pregnant.  He knew her pregnancy was not caused by him.  Obviously, the child was not his.  Thus, that meant she had been sexually involved with another man.

If in that religious society he publically rejected her, neither she nor the child had a chance.  He did not wish to think of her humiliation and rejection prior to birth!  After the birth, who could know what lay ahead for both of them?  At the same time, he had no desire to be married to an unfaithful wife who dishonored him in their engagement.  He surely did not want to raise another man’s child—it was hard enough to be responsible for your own.  So, what was the “right thing” to do?  Why did life have to be so complicated for a poor person like him?  Why should he have to be injustice’s victim?

Engagement was quite different in his society.  It often was the result of an agreement between two families.  The couple was considered to be husband and wife, but they did not live together, and they were not sexually active.  They behaved as singles, but they had the responsibilities of marriage.

He decided on the “right thing” to do.  He would quietly divorce her and thus spare her public embarrassment.  And . . . he would not have an unfaithful wife and another man’s child.

Because he wanted to do the “right thing,” his mind was ready to believe the incredible.  God told him that Mary’s pregnancy was the result of divine involvement, not a human act (Matthew 1:20).

Suggestion for reflection: Be a person always committed to doing the “right thing.”  (Read Psalm 15:4.)

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