Last week I began a three part series on Mary, Joseph, & Emmanuel. As stated last week, the Bible dedicates no less than four chapters (Mt & Lk 1-2) to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Since all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God (2Tim 3:16) and is profitable for doctrine, instruction, correction, & reproof; It behooves us to know this story and take what lessons we can from it. Last week we began with Mary, and several characteristics that we can emulate from this Godly woman. This week we will examine the qualities of Joseph, and hopefully put the things into practice that we learn. Let’s get into the Word of God.
In Mt 1:19, we see first of all that Joseph was a just man. Heb 10:38 tells us the just shall live by faith: faith in God and in His Word. The Greek definition for just is: innocent, holy, righteous - conformed to God’s will. Joseph was hand picked by God, just a Mary was. In fact, one of the common characteristics of both Mary and Joseph, was that they were both conformed to God’s will. May we strive to be the same in our generation.
Joseph was in a good company of men called just in the Bible, including: Noah, who was perfect and walked with God (Gen 6:9); John the Baptist, who was just and holy (Mk 6:20); Simeon, who was devout and had the Holy Ghost upon him (Lk 2:25); and Cornelius, a man who feared God, and had a good report (Act 10:22).
Joseph, being just, had to do what he felt was right in this situation in accordance with Jewish law. When Mary came back after three months at her cousin Elisabeth’s house, and was “showing”, what else could Joseph believe, but that his wife had been unfaithful to him? So he had two choices: he could make a public example of her, which meant he would accuse her of adultery and have her stoned (Dt 22:13-24). Or, he could divorce her (Dt 24:1). Joseph decided to divorce her quietly, and send her away. This brings us to Joseph’s next quality.
Joseph was a kind and compassionate man. Many men would have been enraged at this infidelity, and had her stoned. However, Joseph didn’t stop loving Mary. Even with this shameful incident (he thought), he still cared deeply for Mary, and sought to guard her dignity. We, as Christian men, need to guard our wives dignity. Making foolish jokes, calling our wives “the ol’ lady” or “the ol’ ball and chain”, and repeating to others when our wives fail is not Godly or honorable. Love covers a multitude of sins. We need not repeat matters of our family. We need to guard their dignity. It is our duty as the protector of our homes. It is honorable and righteous. It is what real men do.
The desire of a man is his kindness (Prv 19:22). It was a trait of the prodigal son’s father (Lk 15:20); it is a trait of God (Eph 2:7); it is a trait of Agape love (1Cor 13:4); and It was certainly a trait of Joseph. He proves that a man can be both just and compassionate. Just, in that he seeks to do what is right; and compassionate, in that he also seeks to be as merciful as possible. The Bible speaks little of Joseph in quantity; but it speaks volumes of him in quality.
Of course, in vs. 20, an angel comforts Joseph, and assures him that Mary was not unfaithful, but had conceived by the Holy Ghost. This brings us to Joseph’s next quality, which is being quick to obey God. As soon as he was told to take Mary as his wife (into his house), that’s exactly what he did (vs. 24). As soon as the angel told him to flee into Egypt, that’s what he did (Mt 2:13-14). As soon as the angel told him to go back to Israel, that’s what he did (Mt 2:19-21). No argument. No “Doing his own thing”. Simply obeying God.
Joseph not only obeyed, but was quick to obey. Had Joseph not been quick to obey, it could have cost his family their lives. We need to be the same way. God delights in our obedience (1Sam 15:22). It causes us to eat the good of the land (Isa 1:19). We should walk as obedient children of God in this land, and be holy (1Pt 1:13-17). If God has spoken something to you, either by His written Word, or by His Spirit; then be quick to obey. It matters not what anyone thinks or says about you. It matters only that you obey God. He’ll take care of the rest. May we walk in the footsteps of this Godly man, chosen by God to be the earthly father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!