“When Joseph heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.” (Matthew 2:22-23a NIV)
A lot of people think living an obedient life of faith means putting your mind in neutral and letting God direct you wherever he wants, as if you are a robot. That’s not it at all.
The Bible says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27a NIV). You’ve got to engage your brain with God and live out the kind of life he has for you to live.
This is what Joseph did when he obeyed God’s command to move back to Israel. Joseph heard that Herod’s son was reigning in Judea, so he was afraid to go there. “Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:23 NIV).
Nazareth is where the Bible prophesied that Jesus was going to live, so Joseph was exactly in the center of God’s will. And he got there by looking at the situation — the politics, Herod’s son as ruler — and he realized it wasn’t a safe place to be and engaged his mind with God to make the right decision.
So where should we get God’s command for our lives? We may not have angels showing up to guide us, but we do have hundreds and hundreds of pages of God’s Word. To live a life of obedience, we need to get to know what God has said to us.
Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7:24: “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock” (TEV).
We have God’s Word to help us live out a relationship with him. It’s not a dry book of directions. It is God’s love letter to us, a Father’s letter of instruction to show us how to live the kind of life he wants to give us.
Talk About It
How often do you read God’s Word and then obey it without question?
As you read God’s Word today, I encourage you to pray Psalm 119:34: “Give me insight so I can do what you tell me — my whole life one long, obedient response” (MSG).
Tom Holladay is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of The Relationship Principles of JesuThis devotional © 2012 by Tom Holladay. All rights reserved. Used by permission.