You Can Come Back From A Knockout Blow

Bible Book: Matthew  1 : 18-25
Subject: Depression; Faith; Victory; Peace

December 7, 1941, Admiral Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the 33 ships of the combined Japanese naval fleet, sailed eastward and launched 360 planes. At 8:00 o'clock on Sunday morning the planes began bombing Pearl Harbor and Hicham Field, and in two hours came close to wiping out the American fleet. Maybe you remember that attack years ago. If you don't, you know about it because you have heard about it or read about it or you have seen the movie. And you believe it happened.

You all remember the attack of September 11, 2001. Two thousand years ago there was another surprise invasion. God invaded human history and established a beach-head in the little village of Bethlehem. He came not with destruction but with love. Not a one of us was there. We know about it because those who were there have told us and we believe it happened. One of the eyewitnesses through whose report we are able to know about it was Joseph.

Joseph is overlooked, usually. This morning, let us study the life of Joseph. He is important for Joseph shows you how to get up from a knockout blow. Turn with me to Matthew 1:18-25.

Joseph may be one of the greatest men in the New Testament. Joseph was a young man, probably a teenager, when he and Mary became engaged. He grew up in Nazareth and learned to be a carpenter. There in Nazareth he fell in love with a beautiful young girl named Mary. According to custom, they were engaged or espoused. This meant they were thought of as man and wife. It was so serious that the only way to break a betrothal was by divorce. Joseph and Mary were excited. They were betrothed. Then Mary said something about an abrupt and unexplained trip to the highland area north of Jerusalem. There Mary was going to visit an elderly cousin named Elisabeth. And Joseph couldn't understand it. Mary was gone week after week. At last she came back. It was during the happiness of that encounter that the shock of a sudden discovery crashed in on Joseph. Matthew expressed it, "She was found with child." She was expecting! His whole world came crashing in on Joseph. You can imagine what he was thinking. The whole situation seemed to spell out adultery and that meant divorce. One can imagine Joseph feeling he was losing the one whom he loved more than anything in the world. This all meant slander, embarrassment, disappointment--a knock-out blow. He had never been hurt like that before. He was down for the count of ten.

You'll not find a more dramatic example of a person knocked down by life and coming back to win the victory. There are four things Joseph did that helped him through that experience. They may help you when you encounter that same kind of knockout experience. What can you do when you're down and out?


Verse 20 says, "as he was thinking on these things" or after he had considered this." It means he meditated, he brooded over it, he prayed about it again and again. It's what the Bible means when it teaches, pray without ceasing. It is Jesus saying, "Keep on asking, keep on knocking, keep on seeking."

Jesus not only taught us to pray like that but He also did it himself. Have you noticed that every crisis our Lord faced, he faced with deep, agonizing prayer? Luke 22 and 23 tell us two of those instances. In Luke 22 we see our Lord Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest. It says in verse 44, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

In Luke 23 we see Jesus praying during that crisis time of the cross. Verse 34 records Jesus prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

He faced every crisis with deep agonizing prayer. Joseph's experience says to you when you are faced with that kind of experience, on your back and out, keep on praying. Then pray again. For in prayer the answers will come.

David experienced this. We read of it in I Samuel 30:6. The Psalmist knew this very well when he cried out in Psalm 27: 7-8, “Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.”


Out of his own hurt, there was born an unusual compassion for Mary. Guilty or not he loved her. Here we see a change in his attitude. He stops thinking about his own embarrassment and he begins to think, "How can I get her through this with as little difficulty as possible?"

Somehow in the transaction of reaching out to other people no matter how badly you feel there comes a reverse action that heals, helps, and lifts you. If you are down from a knockout blow, then quickly do something good for someone else. Make a phone call, write a letter, reach out to help. Turn your interest to them, and recovery will begin.

In Job 42:10, the Bible says that God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.


Verse 24 says, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. . ." This is where it began. He started doing something. He acted as the angel had commanded him to act. He moved along with what God had commanded him to do.

The worst thing you can do when you are down and defeated is to quit and resign from life, to lounge in self-pity. One way to come back from that kind of experience is to get involved. Get busy. Do something active. Apply your talents to something worthwhile.

Martin Luther once had similar advice. He said, "Don't argue with the devil. He has had 5,000 years experience. He knows exactly where your weak places are. It's better to quit worrying about him and get busy. Seek good company. Shun solitude and undergird yourself with the fellowship of the church”.


God spoke to Joseph in a dream. The angel came to him. He affirmed him, "Joseph, son of David." The angel came and confirmed that the baby which Mary carries is from the Holy Spirit. The angel came to him with reassurance, “Fear not." When the angel ended his message Joseph was a different man. All his

doubts had become certainties. All that shame became proud joy. You, too, can listen to God. He speaks to us in many ways. The Bible is one channel.

The Bible can be the angel that comes to you with divine guidance. There is a word for you. The Bible states that Jesus came as God's Word-in-flesh. One of the serious and dangerous tendencies that occur in spiritual warfare is that during a time of disappointment, we can begin to listen to voices that are not of the Lord.

For example, during our nation’s most recent time of crisis, there is a tendency for Americans to listen to the voice of hatred, prejudice and bitterness. While no one wants justice more than your Pastor, I will tell you that this is a time when we must follow the example the scripture has set for us, that is, to listen to the Lord. Listen to the words of Psalm 37, “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon whither, like green plants, they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land."

Listen to the Lord. In times of struggle, disappointment, and despair, Satan wants us to listen to him, to his forces, and to the dangerous emotions that seek to cloud our hearts and minds.


Aren't you grateful for Joseph? He tells you and me that when we are defeated by life, there is a way out--pray it through. There is a way out--turn your interest to someone else. There is a way out--get busy, involved. There is a way out--listen to God.

Are you listening to Him today? If He was speaking to you, could you hear Him? Have you been so involved with yourself that God has been pushed to a backseat? Are you down and out in Greenville? Spiritual victory is yours, for we serve a Lord who is not down and out!