“But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:”
The one thing that always stands out about Joseph, the step-father of Jesus Christ, is that he always obeyed God even when obedience didn’t seem to make sense. Joseph obeyed when the angel told him to take Mary to be his wife after he found out that she was with child. Joseph obeyed God’s guidance to go to the land of Egypt when Herod sent out a decree to kill all the babies who were three years of age and under. Joseph’s monicker in his life was obedience.
However, the verse above shows Joseph’s the true spirit of obedience. When Archelaus took the throne after his father Herod died, God told Joseph to go back into the land of Israel. The verse above shows that Joseph was afraid to go. The biggest word that reveals Joseph’s character is the word, “notwithstanding.” He was afraid to go, notwithstanding he still went. He didn’t know what would happen to him, notwithstanding he obeyed the voice of God.
Christian, this is the true test of how much you trust God. It is easy to trust God when you can see how everything is going to work out; however, how much do you trust God to obey when you are afraid to do what God has told you to do? Every Christian is going to have a “notwithstanding” point in their life, and what they do at that point determines what God can do with them. It is at the “notwithstanding” point of life that God finds out what He can do through your life.
My friend, obedience is obeying even when you don’t want to obey. There are going to be many times when God tells you to do something that you won’t want to do because of what you have to give up, but at the “notwithstanding” moment when you obey is when God knows how much He can trust you to do whatever He wants you to do. There are going to be times in your life when what God wants you to do won’t make human sense, but obedience is obeying even when it doesn’t make sense.
Moreover, your obedience shows how much you trust God. The amazing thing about Joseph was that he was afraid to go back to the land of Israel, but he still went because he trusted God. Trusting God is obeying Him when all your senses scream, “Don’t do it.” Trusting God is when you fear to go, notwithstanding you go. Trusting God is when you are afraid to quit your job and follow God’s will by faith, notwithstanding you quit your job. Trusting God is knowing that you could make more money by working on Sunday, notwithstanding you seek God first and go to church. Trusting God is looking at your tithe and realizing it doesn’t look like you can pay your tithe and bills at the same time, notwithstanding you pay your tithe. Trusting God is hearing the voice of fear scream in your ear not to leave the comforts of home for Bible college, notwithstanding you go to college. Your trust in God is totally revealed when what you want to do and what God wants you to do are totally opposite, notwithstanding you obey God.
What are you doing when God’s will for your life causes fear? You will never see God do the miraculous in your life if you don’t have the “notwithstanding” moment when you obey in spite of those fears. It is those who go in spite of their fears that God uses the greatest. Let me challenge you to obey God’s will even when it doesn’t make sense.