You’ve heard me talk about ancient Jewish culture being a face culture, meaning that a good name and honor were high priorities. This was certainly true for Joseph, who had every reason to be proud of his reputation. Not only was he a descendant of David and therefore in the lineage of Messiah, but he was a skilled tradesman (known as a tekton), and he probably had a number of women wanting to marry him. The Bible says that he was a man of honor, so when Mary became pregnant, he decided to divorce her quietly so she wouldn’t be put to shame or possibly even stoned. He cared for her, but he wasn’t going to risk his reputation and cause a scandal in his family and hometown — that is until an angel appeared to tell him what was really going on. Though he was probably confounded by his Heavenly election to be the earthly father of Jesus, when he heard directly from God, he knew it was his call, even if it meant facing shame and scorn.
Friend, once you have heard clearly from the Lord about a direction in your life, it’s important that you follow His lead. Don’t mistake the opinion of others for His voice and remember that God and people will not always agree. Sometimes when you are moving in the right direction, everything will go wrong and people will rebuke and criticize your choices. When that happens, keep moving forward and remember that you answer to your Savior and not to man. Always seek wise counsel, but don’t let the judgement of others keep you from walking in the blessings that come through obedience!