HOW DID YOU SEE GOD THIS WEEK AS YOU FOLLOWED HIM?

WHAT DID GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?

Opening Question:

What was your biggest disappointment this year? Have you ever experienced a disappointment that ultimately turned out to be a good thing?

God turned Joseph’s disappointment into hope in Matthew 1:18-25. Let’s read it together:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Reflect Together:

At what point did God tell Joseph about his plan? Why do you think God chose that moment? Does the text actually reveal God’s purposes for this timing?

How does God’s message answer Joseph’s fears? Does God answer all of Joseph’s fears?

What does God tell us about Jesus and his plans for his people in this passage?

WHAT DID GOD SAY TO ME THROUGH HIS WORD?

God waited until Joseph had decided to divorce Mary before he intervened (1:19-20). Has God ever waited until the last moment to step in and help you with a problem? Why do you think God does that?

God answers Joseph’s specific problem (Mary’s pregnancy) with a specific revelation (the baby is from the Holy Spirit) (1:20), but we may not always get such a direct response to our disappointments and troubles. How might God’s response to Joseph help us as we face our disappointments? What does God’s intervention in this situation tell us about the difficulties he allows into our lives?

WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?

In the middle of our disappointments, God may call us to take surprising steps of forgiveness or kindness towards the people who are causing our hurt. In Joseph’s case, God called him to marry Mary, even though that meant allowing her societal shame to become his own as well. In your disappointments today, perhaps God is calling you to something beyond what may be practical into a more costly kind of love. Consider together how God is calling you to follow him in the middle of your disappointments today.