If ever there was a model for dads and stepdads, it’s Joseph — Jesus’ dad here on Earth.
Called a righteous man, Joseph was blessed with the “get up and go” gene.
Four times in the first two chapters of Matthew, we learn that Joseph — in obedience to God — “got up” and took decisive action.
But I’m sure it wasn’t always easy.
Can you imagine that life-altering discussion between Joseph and his fiancee, the Virgin Mary?
“That’s interesting, Mary. You know why? Because we, uh, never, uh….WHOSE IS IT?”
Matthew 1:19 tells us that Joseph probably didn’t buy it at first: “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want ot expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
But later, God started speaking to Joseph in a unique way. Just when Joseph was ready to sign the papers dissolving his relationship with Mary, God’s angel shows up in his dream and lays out the plan: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The ball was in Joseph’s court. Sign the papers or obey God.
The Bible says:
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
Despite the pain of learning that his soon-t0-be wife was pregnant with a child that wasn’t his, the righteous Joseph put aside his anger and frustration and fear of being disgraced publicly. He didn’t ask for the assignment, but it fell to him to be the man he was raised to be and take responsibility. And he didn’t falter.
Later in Bethlehem, when King Herod began his quest to find and destroy Jesus by killing all children under the age of two, Joseph received another message from an angel of the Lord: “‘Get up,'” he said, “‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.”
Joseph didn’t hit snooze, down a nice breakfast, seek out his friends and ask them for advice. The life of his baby boy was in danger. He got up and left.
In Matthew 2: 19-23, Joseph does this two more times, eventually landing in Nazareth. And what’s more? Every move he made had been outlined in the Old Testament. Every move he made was a fulfillment of prophecy.
So what’s the point?
I have several:
- Joseph didn’t ask for this. He was a love-struck carpenter whose idyllic plans of a traditional Jewish family were shattered. In the end, he chose not to think of himself and, instead, invested everything in God and his family.
- Joseph had a choice: Obey God and do what he was called to do — or desert. I believe most men would’ve bolted.
- God knew how to speak to Joseph and he maintained that same form of communication over the years. He used an angel to talk to Joseph in his dreams. How does God speak to you?
- When God gave an order, Joseph didn’t hesitate to act. He got up and went. So many times, I’ve felt I was called to do something and I waited and waited and waited until the opportunity was gone — robbing myself and others of a blessing.
- Joseph loved his son unconditionally and invested in him. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” – Luke 2:52.
My prayer today:
Lord, thank you for graciously giving me a beautiful wife and three incredible boys. Help me be the husband and parent you’ve called me to be. Help me be open to your guidance and prepared to follow you on a moment’s notice. Help me put aside those things that keep me from fully investing in the lives of my wife and children. Help me lead by your example.