Compliment of the season once again, and we say it is our year of divine rest. The hangover of the celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is still with us here. For this reason, our meditation today is centered on the birth of Jesus Christ. A major event we cannot forget easily was the angelic visitation, which resulted in the supernatural conception of the virgin Mary (Matt 1:18-21). The word of God had no physical impact on the mortal body of a man like that either before or after that event. Mary conceived Jesus, and the redemption story went into full gear.
Remember, in Jewish society, the unmarried virgin Mary was not protected from the socio-cultural and legal implications of getting pregnant before the wedding. In my estimation, God deliberately did what he did after Mary was espoused to Joseph. Being espoused made all assume that the baby in Mary’s womb belonged to Joseph, her husband. The redemption story would have been at risk if Mary were single. She would have been stoned to death by people in her community for committing fornication(Deut 22:20-29).
So let me pretend that I am a party to the redemption story. I can see the story director saying, “delay the visit of angel Gabriel until Mary got into a relationship.”
What does it mean if a woman is said to be betrothed?
The tradition of the Jews supports early marriage. A father gives her daughter in marriage, mainly during the girl’s teenage years. Most of the time, the girl remains in her father’s house after her husband has completed all the necessary rites.
In the eyes of Jewish Law, they are married, and the man can have intercourse with her. That was the case with Mary; she was the wife of Joseph before the law without cohabiting with him. So when she got pregnant, everyone assumed that it was Joseph’s. Joseph made the assumption accurate because he did not contest it at all. Just imagine when friends and relations told him that Mary was pregnant. Before Joseph interrogated Mary, he must have replied to those who informed him that we thank God. He could have replied that something was fishy, and everyone would begin to suspect a foul play
Joseph was a shield because he did not make noise.
Another commendable action of Joseph was the revelation of the angel he had; he kept it to himself for a long time. He chose to share it with no one. Mary risked being stoned to death if Joseph had disclosed some details to their family and friends. Joseph obeyed God when he understood very little. Bible scholar does not always amplify the role of Joseph in the redemption story. God needs men and women with such character during the formative stage of many things the Lord wants to do in families, churches, nations, and communities
Are you a shield to your friend/neighbor/wife/husband/colleague/prayer partner and the rest? The shield I am referring to is not that of the evil conspiracy between the couples (Ananias and Sapphira) in Acts 5. Because they lied to the holy spirit, and that is ungodly.
Examples of Being a Shield
A wife becomes a shield when no one knows you are responsible for the school fees and house rent when her husband is struggling financially. Likewise, you are a shield to your roommate when you freely share your foodstuff with her during a hard time.
A great mentor of mine shared a story that I will never forget. He was a principal in a secondary school. Among her staff was a woman waiting upon the Lord for the fruit of the womb. If I can recall, the woman has waited for over twenty years. No assisted conception technology then, so she depended on God for a miracle.
Suddenly, God appeared, and she was pregnant. The pregnancy was a difficult one because of the age of the woman. Her family doctor told her she must be on bed rest throughout the pregnancy. My mentor said no one would approve a nine-month leave for her. So he decided to help her with her teaching duties in the secondary school they both worked (I remember he said they are not in the same discipline, but he read the needful to teach) and signed her name on the staff register. It was a public secondary school in the military regime, and either she resigned or was at work till it was time for three months of maternity leave known to the law.
At the end of the nine months, she gave birth to a boy who was her only child. The boy was a graduate when he told me this story. Be a shield to someone this year.
Be a shield to someone. You are in that relationship to be a shield. There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother Prv 18:24.