The Dream Intervenes (Advent 22, 2020)

What’s the right thing to do?  It’s often hard to know.  The Bible admonishes us, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Joseph was a righteous man and wanted to do what was theologically correct to maintain that righteousness.  According to the law, he had two options: “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)

That’s it: public disgrace (humiliation and even stoning) or divorce.  Two options that make a righteous man’s conscience uneasy.  Two choices he didn’t want to make.  Two alternatives and either one would break his heart.  He loved Mary.

Divine Intervention: A Third Way

20 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. 21 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.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 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)

Questions for further thought:

  • Sometimes the choices all seem to be bad and the road appears as a dead end.  How did Joseph’s righteousness make him sensitive to hearing wisdom and give him courage for acting upon what the angel instructed?
  • What do you do when confronted with only bad choices or when all seems hopeless?
  • People sometimes claim there are 3 answers to prayer: Yes, No, and Wait.  Joseph couldn’t wait because eventually pregnancy shows if it progresses.  What other types of things remove the options of Wait or Delay from those available? 
  • Is it ever a sin to delay?  When?

Lord Jesus, when we don’t know what to do and all the choices before us seemed to be bad ones, please come to our rescue! When the troubles of this world encroach upon our hearts and our consciences are chronically uneasy, we ask that You would show us the way; that Your Holy Spirit would guide us toward what will bring glory to You; and we will see another way through the troubled waters. We ask, Lord, that righteousness would prevail and that we would be wise and have courage and we would bear fruit for the Kingdom. You are Lord and we celebrate the miracles leading up to Your birth and a way that opens through the fog. We praise You! In Jesus Name and for His glory we pray. Amen.


Advent 2020 began Sunday, November 29th and continues to Thursday, December 24th as we celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to His Second Coming.  “Divine Intervention” is this year’s devotional study. By signing up on the sidebar of my Home Page you can receive these daily devotionals. Or they will be reposted on SeminaryGal’s Facebook page as well.

Together we will see how God has been actively involved all along as Divine Intervention for a hurting world and nations in tumult– Intervention for you and for me when our status as sinners required nothing short of a miracle.


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 God’s Christmas list explored what might be on God’s Christmas list, learning what He wants from us. It began December 1, 2019.
  • 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 20, 2020

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