“And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary,
of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ…
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:
When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph,
before they came together,
she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
We know little of Joseph who stands to the side in each manger scene. But his role is vital and scripture helps us see he indeed was a faithful man, a man fathers today would do well to emulate.
Wouldn’t you find it hard to believe if you were in Joseph’s sandals? All Israel waited for Messiah. I imagine every Jewish girl hoped for the honor of God upon their lives. And now a young girl waiting to consummate the vows of betrothal declares she is with child of the Holy Ghost. What kind of man had God chosen to bring up His Son in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”?
Joseph was a carpenter from Nazareth, a respected profession in an obscure village in the northern region of Israel. I don’t know why God chose Joseph. I do know God proved His wisdom in choosing him, and He showed us what He desires in a man who is the head of the family,
“…even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.” Eph. 5:23b.
Fathers have a grave responsibility to train their children and it begins with a godly example. Joseph was such a man.
“Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man…”
Joseph consistently chose observance of right and equated with others who walked with God.
- “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”(Gen. 5:24).
- “…Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”(Gen. 6:9)
- . “…there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel…” (Luke 2:25).
Joseph displayed love, compassion, and a kind heart when faced with a trying situation – one in which he first believed he had been betrayed.
“…Joseph her husband…not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.”
Joseph did not yet know Mary’s circumstance. He only knew he wasn’t the father of the child she carried. This putting away (divorce) could be done privately or publicly, but required a bill of divorcement. Joseph’s kind heart would not allow him to hurt Mary in this way. He exemplified,
“Be kindly affectioned one to another,
with brotherly love;
in honor preferring one another;”(Rom. 12:10).
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind…”(1Cor. 13:4).
Joseph did not act rashly but considered all things.
”Joseph…while he thought on these things…”
He thought before he acted. He sought God. We don’t know the following was his prayer but it describes what I might feel in a trying situation.
“O God, thou art my God;
early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;”
The Lord God answered Joseph’s need.
- “…the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying,
- Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:
- for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost…
- Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him,
- and took unto him his wife:”
Joseph pleased the Lord for he was a man of obedient faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him:
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”(Heb. 11:6).
“Even so faith, if it hath not works,
is dead, being alone.”
Joseph and Mary, two ordinary people, born after the image of sinful Adam, yet, chosen by God to be used in the revelation of His mystery of the gospel. We don’t hear anything of Joseph after Jesus’ twelfth year. We do know he continued to obey the Lord’s direction and fulfill the law for God’s Son. With this he leaves us the gift of a godly example to follow.
- Live justly
- Walk in faith leading to obedience
- Please the Lord
- Be a man of prayer
- Display love, affection, compassion
If we desire our country to return to God, it will begin in our families with godly husbands raising their children with the aid of godly mothers after Deuteronomy 6: 4-7,9:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up…
And thou shalt write them
upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
My children, grandchildren and great-grandson are blessed to have godly examples as was I. Many are missing this ingredient today. Fill the gap if possible and pray for the restoration of the godly family, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our future.
Who has been a godly father to you? It doesn’t have to be a blood relative. Praise God for them and if still living, thank them.