Hall and Oates once sang, “You Make My Dreams Come True. Ooh Ooh. Ooh Ooh.” Do dreams really come true? Dreams are weird. Sometimes, dreams feel very real. Sometimes they’re terrifying. Sometimes, they’re are just…odd. Like the time I dreamt that the only way that I could move was by swimming through the air. My wife, Patty, has dreams that DO come true! In 1998, she dreamt that she was pregnant with twins. Guess what? 7 months later, we had twins!
In the Christmas story, God spoke to Joseph, and others, through dreams. Several times, actually. Look at Matthew 1:18-24.
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 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. 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.
What would you do in that situation? Stay the course? Or, run the other direction?
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Three Magi (wise men) traveled to find “the King of the Jews”. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed, and worshipped the child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then another dream, “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” Then yet ANOTHER dream, “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” This is getting pretty scary! It’s for sure not your typical, “hey we just had a baby, and now our life is complete” Hallmark Christmas movie.
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:14-15.
Harod then freaks out, and orders all boys in Bethlehem two years old and under to be killed. WHAT? And you thought Freddy Krueger was a nightmare!
Ok, let’s just take a deep breath. This is a lot to comprehend. Each part of this story is quite overwhelming. A baby is born to a virgin. The baby is the Savior of the world. A dude named Harod wants to KILL the baby, and Mary and Joseph are still trying to figure out what this whole parenting this is all about. Whew! Next scene.
The Return to Nazareth
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he 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. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:19-23
Amazing huh? God spoke to some many people through dreams. But I don’t want you to miss the bigger picture. Each of these characters not only had the dreams, they were OBEDIENT! Yes, they were some hefty orders. But, what would’ve happened if they ignored the orders?
Joseph was an amazing, faithful man of God. I don’t think that I appreciated all that Joesph had to endure, until just this year. I have spent the last few weeks really diving deeper into the account of the birth of Jesus, and the great faith of Joseph and Mary. They both were very obedient in some very difficult situations. God promised them that He would be with them, and He was!
Today, I encourage you to listen to the voice of God. Whether it be through a dream, a friend, a nudging, or even through a simple blog post. What is God saying to you? Are you willing to be obedient? Will you listen?
Listening will help you to go make a difference. And, Run By Faith.