By A. Trevor Sutton
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him (Matthew 1:24 ESV).
Guys named Joseph love to sleep. Or at least that is what the Bible seems to say.
The first Book of the Bible—Genesis—introduces us to Joseph, the son of Jacob. We know a lot about this Joseph: He had eleven jealous brothers, a coat of many colors, and a fascinating life story. Yet, this Joseph is perhaps best known for what he did while sleeping: he was a dreamer.
The first book of the New Testament—the Gospel of Matthew—introduces us to a different Joseph, the husband of Mary. We know much less about this Joseph: He was a carpenter from Nazareth. He traced his ancestry all the way back to King David. He was a righteous man—righteous by faith in the coming, promised Savior. And this Joseph, too, is known for what he did while sleeping: he, too, was a dreamer.
While Joseph slept, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream to say:
Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:20–21 ESV).
Months later, something similar happened. Again Joseph was dreaming and again an angel of the Lord appeared to him. This time, the angel told him that King Herod was going to search for the child Jesus intending to kill him (Matthew 2:13). The angel told Joseph to gather his family and flee to Egypt. Joseph did just that.
Joseph’s life reminds us of an important truth: The Lord speaks, so listen up!
Living by faith begins by listening to the Lord. Your ears are far more important to living by faith than you might imagine. The Bible tells us:
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17 ESV).
God’s Word enters through your ears. Then it begins to transform your head, heart, and hands. Before anything good can come out of your mouth, God’s Good News of pardon and hope in Jesus must come into your ears.
Like Joseph, you may be especially gifted at sleeping and dreaming. But living by faith is more than just counting sheep and sawing logs. Living by faith is listening to the Lord. His Word of forgiveness creates the bold faith and the courage you need to walk by faith.
The Lord speaks, so listen up!
Activity: God has promised to speak to his people today through the Bible. How are you turning down the noise of this world so you can clearly hear what the Lord is saying to you in his Word?
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from a new devotion book for men, Living by Faith: Lessons for Life, available in ESV, KJV, and Spanish versions.
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