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Joseph, a Righteous Man

My husband and I have had many conversations over the years about who we would entrust to care for our children if something were to ever happened to us. There are certain things, character traits if you will, we would look for in those persons. For instance, we would want our children to be raised by persons who loved God and sought to live according to His will for their lives, persons who would offer stability, discipline,and protection; we would want our children to be in a home where they would be taught God's Word and how important He is in their lives.

These types of conversations always get me to thinking, I mean REALLY thinking; thinking beyond common every day life occurrences into the deep depths of the why's of why God set the world into motion and wills for life to play out the way it does.

For instance...why did God choose Joseph and Mary to be the earthly parents of His one and only Son? What was it about these two adolescent individuals that caused the Father to hand pick them from the masses to raise Jesus from baby to man; to teach Him how to walk, how to talk, how to carve a piece of wood into a beautiful piece of art, how to simply, make His bed? A teenage boy and a pre-teen girl preparing for a "normal" life together, now chosen to be the parents of the King of Kings...Why?

Scripture doesn't tell us much about Jesus' earthly father Joseph. What it does tells us, though, I believe is of utmost importance and a great example for all of us.

First, Joseph was a just man.
Matthew 1:19, tells us that Joseph was "a just man", a righteous man. This terminology is a Hebrew phrase suggesting he was a true believer in God who had been declared righteous by God, and who carefully obeyed the law. Joseph was a Jew and came from a rich heritage of men and women who loved God and were devoted to Him; men and women like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Salmon, Rahab, Boaz, and Ruth; Jesse, David, and Solomon (Matthew 1:1-17 gives the genealogy of Joseph and Jesus). Coming from a devout Jewish heritage like this, it is very likely that the "Shema" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9- the Jewish confession of faith, which was recited twice daily along with Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41) was read aloud and practiced faithfully in his home aiding in him becoming the righteous, just man God declared him to be.

In Matthew 1:24 and Matthew 2:13-15, we see Joseph's devotion to God by his unquestioning obedience to God's instruction of him accepting Mary as his wife and taking Mary and Jesus to Egypt to protect them from Herod. When God gave Joseph instructions to follow, Joseph obeyed immediately and completely. A man with this type of integrity would be of utmost importance in the raising of His Son who would be called upon to obey His Father's instruction without question.

Secondly, I believe Joseph was a man who had a compassionate heart for all mankind.
As I said before, Joseph had a rich heritage full of Godly men and women; not perfect men and women, but individuals who loved God and sought to please Him with their lives. Having come from this rich heritage of Godly men, I believe, was also a great example to Joseph in his acceptance of and unconditional love for Mary.

Why do I say this? Look at Salmon who married the Gentile prostitute, Rahab. The two of them later had a son, Boaz, who married a Moabite widow. When God looked upon Joseph, I think He knew Joseph would have a tender heart toward this young Mary who had become pregnant before they married with a child that was not biologically his own. If I had my guess, I would say Joseph showed Jesus, in the flesh, how to respect and love all peoples in spite of the label placed on them by society.

Lastly, Joseph was a hard worker.
Matthew 13:55 tells us that Joseph was a carpenter. Carpentry work is not easy. When I was young my granddaddy and dad did a lot of carpentry work. My granddaddy had been taught by his dad and in turn taught my dad the trade of wood working. I remember going into the shop and watching them measure, cut, nail, sand, and piece together, what looked like to me just a bunch a boards, and making it into something beautiful and of value. I'm sure Joseph's job was a lot like that. Spending countless hours in his wood working shop with his son teaching him the skills of the trade; the importance of paying careful attention to the details, the art of taking a few pieces of wood, some nails, and a hammer and the end result being something of beauty. I'm sure Jesus learned perseverance through the many hours spent carving and sanding and carving and sanding. God knew Joseph would instill in His Son a work ethic of perseverance until the job was complete.

God didn't choose just anybody to care for and raise His Son. He chose a man who, first and foremost loved Him and sought to please Him with his life; a man who would teach Jesus the importance of obedience without question; a man who would instill in Him the love and respect of all peoples; and a man who would show Him the importance of persevering through to the end in spite of the difficulty of the situation. Even though Jesus was God in the flesh, I have to believe that His earthly father, Joseph, had a great impact on His life.

God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His heavenly Son. Definitely no small task, but one Joseph took on with great pride. God has chosen each of us for a special purpose here on this earth. Live out that purpose for Him today, be salt and light to those around you; be the hands and feet of Jesus; love the lost; care for the wounded; point the sinner to the Savior.


1 Lovely Thoughts Shared:

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

Oh sweet friend....good stuff!! GOOOOD STUFF!!