After a traumatic childhood life, my wife’s cousin wrote this book to help people be set free from past hurts. Here is but one recent testimony from a reader, of how the book Unfailing Love has helped them be set free. I encourage everyone to read this post and then consider buying the book.
Luke 2:1-5 (NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (2) (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (3) And everyone went to his own town to register. (4) So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (5) He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
What do we see when we read this passage of Scripture? We see that the Romans wanted to do a headcount of their population and that this was not the first time they had wanted to do so. We see that everyone was required to go to his hometown to be counted. We see that Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted correctly. And we see that Joseph has taken his pregnant fiancé with.
It is so easy to miss the significance of mere words on a piece of paper that were written some two thousand years ago. In not being a first century Jew or Roman official living or stationed in first century Israel, it is so easy to simply gloss over these words and think, “Okay! So Joseph travelled from point A to point B with his fiancé because he had to.” And thus it is so easy to miss the significance, the truth, of what has been written.
Take a step back for moment and ask yourself, “Where exactly was Nazareth in relation to Bethlehem? How did they get there? How long would it have taken for them to have travelled there? What about compensation for loss of income due to this travelling time? Was it safe for a pregnant women to be travelling this distance and under these conditions?”
When we take this step back and ask ourselves these questions, then we realise that Joseph would have had to have travelled by foot for four days just to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to satisfy the demands of a tyrant. And then we realise that this travel time would have doubled by the fact that he was taking a heavily pregnant women with him on the journey, needing to rest often, fearing imminent birth or worse, miscarriage.
And after we’ve realised these things, we realise – we see – the significance of what this passage of Scripture is trying to bring out to us; faithful commitment.
It would have been so easy for Joseph to have given Mary up because of her pregnant state and save himself from the ridicule and scorn of his peers. It would have been so easy to have left Mary in Nazareth with her parents and allowed her to be counted amongst the people of Nazareth. It would have been so much more convenient to just set aside his responsibilities and quickly get this over with.
But he didn’t. Because he was committed! And his commitment allowed him to remain faithful to Mary, believing the story she told him of how she became pregnant. And Joseph’s commitment allowed him to be faithful to God and His will for their lives, for the world.
How is your commitment? Can you be counted on to remain faithful to a cause, a decision, your word?
When we read the gospels, we find very little written about Joseph. He was not a prominent figure, or person of significance. Yet, maybe it is that God chose Joseph to be Mary’s husband for this very reason, for this very characteristic of his, knowing that it is going to need the faithful commitment of a man like Joseph to ensure the successful fulfilment of an ancient prophecy that would result in the salvation of humanity.
Joseph was not a man of significance. But he was a man of commitment. He was not asked to move mountains or drive out nations. But he was asked to be a husband to a women. And that was all. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Are you such a man or women that God can use? Can you be trusted to remain faithfully committed to whatever it is God has called you to be or do? Do you have it in you to be a Joseph? With God, all things are possible.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say
Luke 1:65-80 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. (66) Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. (67) His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: (68) “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. (69) He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (70) (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), (71) salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us– (72) to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, (73) the oath he swore to our father Abraham: (74) to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (75) in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (76) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, (77) to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, (78) because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven (79) to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (80) And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Earlier is this gospel of Luke, we read how an angel had appeared to Zachariah, telling him that he would have a son in his old age. And now the words of the angel have been fulfilled and John – who we know as John the Baptist – has been born. Due to the supernatural significance surrounding his birth, people wondered what would come of him, what his purpose was going to be. Clearly God was with him and going to be with him.
In a time of Roman oppression and with a few failed coups speckling the past, maybe it was that the people were thinking, were wondering, if this child – John – was the one whom had been prophesied would come to set the captives free, set Israel free and restore her to her rightful inheritance. Maybe it was that the people were thinking, were whispering, “Could this be the Messiah?”
And when we read Zechariah’s prophecy, we nearly want to say yes! For he speaks of God now having come and redeemed His people; and he speaks of being saved from their enemies; and he speaks of God remembering and restoring His covenant. For a moment, people might be forgiven for thinking that Zechariah was indeed speaking, prophesying, about his son John.
But he’s not! You see, verse 69 shows us that the first portion of this prophetic utterance is related to a descendant of David. And Luke 1 vs. 5 shows us that both Zechariah and Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They are thus not of the line of David. So, the first half of Zechariah’s prophecy is not related to his son John.
The second half of Zechariah’s prophecy is however related to his son. Zechariah has remained faithful to what he believes, knows, John’s calling to be as given to him by the angel in Luke 1 vs. 17. He prophecies over John in vs. 76, that he is to “go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” THAT is John’s call of duty. THAT is going to be his work. THAT is what his father will be preparing him for.
And that is Zechariah’s duty – a father’s duty: to remain faithful to what God has laid upon his heart for his children and to help prepare them for what God has called them to be.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say
Luke 1:56-64 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (57) When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. (58) Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. (59) On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, (60) but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” (61) They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” (62) Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. (63) He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” (64) Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.
The story of the birth of John the Baptist is coming to an end. What started as a visitation from an angel with his message that two old people will give birth to a son, is now reaching its appointed time of fulfilment and completion.
Notice that there is an appointed time. Every message that God gives us, every prophetic word, has an appointed time and place for its fulfilment. As much as Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted their baby to be conceived and born immediately, they had to wait – endure – the time of pregnancy before he was to be born.
And so it is with us! When we hear from God we sometimes get so over-excited about the call, the message, that we run ahead of God and try in our own strength to implement or work out that which God has spoken. We lose sight of the process of development both of ourselves and the circumstances or timing that will allow for the call’s fulfilment. But for faith to be realised, we must continue to wait on God for the appointed time. For it does indeed have an appointed time.
Notice too that faith must be shared. It was not good enough simply for John to be born and for Zachariah and Elizabeth to privately name their child and cherish that in their hearts. A whole week had passed after John was born and yet Zachariah could still not speak. And it also wasn’t good enough for only Elizabeth alone to announce John’s name. No! Both of them had to. Zechariah had to somehow announce it too, make it known. And only after both of them had completed their part in the fulfilment of the angel’s message, only then is the message fully realised and completed and Zachariah’s tongue is loosed and he is able to speak again.
Finally, realised faith results in praise. And it is right that it does. For it is right to express thanksgiving and praise toward someone after they have promised you something and which has now been fully realised, supplied, and completed? This is even more true of God whose promises are true and full of love. We may not always fully understand why things are as they are. But know that when God has spoken and it has been fulfilled according to His will, praise will indeed be the end result of your realised faith.
Friends! Has God spoken to you? Has God laid something on your heart that you need to do? Or has He maybe promised something toward you? Is your faith waning?
Ask yourself if it is the appointed time for the fulfilment of the promise?
Share what you believe God has said to you with someone you trust.
And then praise God when it has been fulfilled and realised.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say