God Wants Us to Fear the Lord and Serve Him -Advent 5 (2019)

If God’s Christmas List contains what He wants, not just at Christmas, but always, then fearing the Lord instead of man would be a big-ticket item.  Joseph knew that. 

In the Christmas story, Joseph heard that Mary was pregnant and that meant shame.  In their culture, Mary would be stoned to death for being pregnant out of wedlock. Joseph would have remained ashamed of her pregnancy, fearing what other people would think, and in the end, it would destroy his lifetime achievement of righteousness.  He could divorce her publicly and put it all on her.  Or the other option would be to marry her anyway and be the father of a child who was not his… with a lifetime of pretending.  No good alternatives.  Only different levels of fear and ruin.

Enter an angel of the Lord.

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:20-25).

Think about it:

  • How did Joseph’s encounter with the angel change his heart and conquer his fear of men?
  • How is fearing the Lord different from fearing people?
  • Did his following the angel’s encouragement and command take away his fear of how people would view him since Mary was pregnant?
  • Why does Scripture state clearly that he didn’t consummate the marriage?  What might some men in that situation do, masking the reality, to save their reputation in the eyes of man?

What God wants for Christmas is… for us to fear the Lord and serve Him.

Dear Lord, Remind me why fearing You is always good and fearing man a far lesser concern.  You are faithful and we praise You.  You are all goodness and light!  There is no darkness, hiding, or pretense in You.  Help us to live authentic lives in the full freedom Jesus died to give us.  Grant that we would never forget the miracles You alone can work and the redemption and freedom You give when we fear rightly and serve wholeheartedly.  Amen.  


Join me beginning December 1, 2019 by signing up on the sidebar of my Home Page to receive these daily devotionals. Let’s enjoy exploring what might be on God’s Christmas list.

Acknowledging inquiries about an entire season’s devotionals for your study group’s planning purposes, Seminary Gal’s prior seasons’ Advent devotionals can be accessed via the archives to the right and are as follows:  

  • Last year’s Advent Devotional Series (2018) Storyteller began December 2, 2018 and entered into the Christmas story through its telling.
  • The 2017 series Still Christmas, began December 3, 2017 and was the Advent complement to the Lenten series, Be Still and Know that I AM God.
  • The 2016 season devotionals were called Timeless: The Message of Christmas for All Ages” and explored how the message of Christmas is timeless truth, for all ages of people, and for all ages at all times.  Timeless hope, encouragement, grace, peace, and love as we looked into the Word, saw the face of our Lord Jesus, and experienced restoration in His presence.  His goodness and His Gospel are truly Timeless. The 2016 devotionals began November 27, 2016.
  • The 2015 season devotionals were titled Incarnation and involved digging deep–and yes, I mean deep– in this important mystery of Christian theology.  They began November 29, 2015.
  • Carol Me, Christmas! remains one of my most popular offerings and tells the Christmas story through our most beloved Christmas hymns and carols.  You can access all of the numbered devotionals from 2014 via the archives.  They began November 30, 2014.
  • The 2013 series was Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up in Person and examined the Prologue to the Gospel of John.  It began December 1, 2013.
  • The 2012 series focused on Expecting the Unexpected…the unexpected, unlikely, and uniquely divine qualities of God’s perfect plan outlined in Luke’s account of the Christmas story.  It began December 1, 2012.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 5, 2019

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