Do You Really Want What You Ask God For?
Have you ever really wanted something and asked God for this? Did you get what you asked for and did this work out the way you thought it would? Years ago I really wanted a promotion in the job I had. I asked God for this and worked towards this goal. After some time and a few setbacks, I finally got the job. This was a real blessing from God. However, the way things worked out was not how I imagined it. It proved to be one of the most demanding times of my life. There were many people blessed in my being in that position but it was also one of the hardest things I had ever done.
I wonder how many times God does not give us things we think will be a real blessing because if we had these things we could not handle them? Or are there times when God delays what we want until we have grown and developed sufficiently to be able to deal with the consequences? Jewish young women dreamed of being the mother of the Messiah. Mary was granted that desire, what a blessing and what a privilege but also what a world of challenges was opened up by this.
The Challenges of Being Blessed
(Matthew 1:18) Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Betrothal in Galilean culture meant a great deal more than our marriage engagements. Betrothals were likely arranged by parents between families.
Girls became betrothed between the ages of twelve to fourteen with sixteen usually being the oldest this would happen, men were between eighteen and twenty. For a betrothal to take place at least part of the marriage price had to be paid by the man at the time of the betrothal. The man would then declare his intention to marry before two witnesses. Both Mary and the Joseph would have to have given their consent to the proposed marriage.
Betrothal usually lasted for a year. During this time the couple were not allowed to be alone in private. They were not allowed to show an interest in someone else. This would have been considered adulterous, (Deuteronomy 22:23-27). Marriages were only consummated after betrothal during the first night of the wedding week.
Betrothals were so binding that if the fiancé died the bride was considered a widow. They could only be terminated by divorce. For a woman to become pregnant during betrothal would normally result in divorce if the father was not the fiancé. Women in that position would have found it very hard to find husbands and their future would have been bleak. The divorce would have publicly shamed them. When Mary was found to be pregnant people would not have accepted that this was a supernatural result of the Holy Spirit. They were going to think she had been unfaithful to Joseph.
(Matthew 1:19) It was not only Mary who would be affected by this blessing from God. Joseph very nearly divorced Mary. Divorces could be easily arranged if you were a man wanting to divorce a woman. All that was needed was a simple document and two witnesses. Joseph could have divorced Mary without making her shame more widely known. When Joseph married Mary he became open to the accusation that he had had premarital sex with her. In that legalistic society, he would have also been disapproved of.
Faith is Needed to Face the Challenges of Blessing
So how did Mary and Joseph handle this blessing from God? It was essential that they believed what God had said. For a start, they had to believe that the blessing was a good and joyous thing no matter how it actually felt,(Proverbs 10:22). 122 Yahweh’s blessing brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.
(Matthew 1:21) They expressed their faith in God in the way they named the child. The name Jesus means “God is salvation”. In accepting what the angel had said and choosing the God-given name for the child they showed not only obedience to God but a willingness to trust Him in all the complications that were arising.
(Matthew 1:24, 25) Marriage was a covenant that was entered into at the end of betrothal. It required the payment of the wedding price in full. The wedding usually lasted a week and the couple consummated the wedding on the first night. Joseph demonstrated remarkable restraint in not consummating the marriage until Jesus had been born. This was another consequence of rightly handling this blessing from God.
Blessings from God are always a good thing. Sometimes they can also lead us into difficulties just as the disciples found when they followed Jesus into a boat at His bidding, (Luke 8:22, 23). Sometimes following Jesus brings us into a storm. First, there is the storm but then there is a deliverance from God. Blessings, therefore, need to be rightly handled. We do this by trusting in what God has said to us. When we ask God to bless us we need to be aware of this aspect of consequences. For example, some people want amazing healing ministries, but are they aware of the consequences of receiving this? People gifted with healing ministries were frequently persecuted and could rarely find time for themselves. Let us keep seeking God for blessing but learn also to handle these blessings in a fallen world.
Have you ever asked God for something and He gave it to you, how did this enrich you?
Were some of the consequences of this blessing challenging
What difficulties did you have to handle, how did you do this?