AHA – Obedience: lessons we can learn from the character of Joseph.
Scripture reference – The Book of Matthew, 1st book of the New Testament
Joseph. Things my mind thinks about when I say his name.
- Engaged to Mary – finds out she is pregnant
- The earthly father to Jesus
- Several sites speak to the fact that he was “gracious” and “well-respected”
- Direct descendant of King David (Matthew 1:16)
- Carpenter – probably taught Jesus carpentry skills?
The list of things about Joseph could probably go on and on. For purposes of time, OBEDIENCE is the one thing that I want to focus on.
The way I see it, Joseph was probably living his life like any other Jewish fellow – engaged to be married, working in his carpentry shop, etc. When all of a sudden, things seem to go a little sideways.
LORD – I KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING. MY LIFE CAN SOMETIMES GET REALLY SIDEWAYS – from little things (“wow, I am really having a bad day” to serious things “should I have that difficult conversation with my child, spouse, coworker” – you can fill in the blank here with anything that causes you to get “sideways” with your faith.
Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant – and he is not the father. This brings up all kinds of questions – but firstly, whom has she been with? She is no longer a virgin, etc. According to the Bible, he is trying to figure out the best way to take care of this situation.
SOMETHING I WANT TO POINT OUT HERE – although the situation is very bad, Joseph is still trying to protect her reputation and not make things look bad for her. In Matthew 1:19, the Bible says, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” This is a whole ‘nother story, but why in the world can’t we be as the Bible says “just and unwilling to put her to shame?” We can get so ugly sometimes in the way we treat others, and believe me; the world is watching how we handle our situations. What a breath of fresh air that he was being quiet about the situation and thinking of her when he could totally be all up in his feels about her betraying him. He was such a respectful individual. Not only of himself and the situation, but for Mary. Okay – I’m back..
The reason Joseph doesn’t leave Mary is because he is a DREAMER. And believe me, the Bible proves “that he dreamed until his dreams came true”. An angel appears to Joseph in his dream in Matthew 1:20. The angel tells Joseph not to be afraid to marry Mary that the Holy Spirit is how she conceived. He goes on to say that she will bear a Son – and he is to name Him Jesus. AND Jesus will save His people from their sins.” Whoa. Do you think Joseph has any idea what all this means? I really don’t think so. But here is the deal. When Joseph woke up from this HEAVY DREAM, two words – HE OBEYED. In Matthew 1:24, the Bible says, “when Joseph woke from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.”
I can only wonder how he must’ve been feeling. Before this dream, my quiet time from “The Message” bible said that Joseph was “humbled, but chagrined.” I had to look that word up in the dictionary. Chagrined – distressed or embarrassed at having failed or been humiliated. I can’t believe that just because he had this dream that all of those feelings went away. Or maybe they did. I’m just saying how I would feel. This began, in my opinion the “spiritual training” of Joseph.
GOD – DO YOU HAVE ME IN ANY KIND OF SPIRITUAL TRAINING RIGHT NOW??
Joseph began this journey with God by doing something that sounds so simple – HE OBEYED. Two simple words, but at the same time, two incredibly hard words to do.
The Bible goes on to talk about two more dreams that Joseph had – one in Matthew 2:13 – basically the dream of take Jesus and flee to Egypt because the King is trying to find Him and kill Him. Oh – just that. REALLY?? The answer to this dream? Joseph obeyed. Then the next dream in Matthew 2:19 after Herod had killed all of the baby boys 2 years old and younger and Herod died himself (Oh yea, only those two things). An angel told Joseph in this dream to take Mary and Jesus back to Israel. What did he do? Joseph obeyed.
Are you now getting this? Joseph had some super heavy things that he was dealing with. And the Holy Spirit was guiding him through his dreams. I’m pretty sure if I were Joseph and all of these things around me are going on, I would be trying every way in the world not to fall asleep.
Isn’t that the way we are as believers sometimes? We know what God is telling us to do. He might not have communicated in a dream, but through our quiet times, through other Godly individuals in our lives, through devotions and maybe blogs or podcasts. Do we act on those things that we know God is wanting us to do, or do we just look the other way, because as we all know (maybe I should just be speaking for myself right now) IT’S EASIER TO DO THINGS OUR WAY. Sometimes I will even have the posture of “God, I know what I need to do. Thanks for trying to interfere in my life again.” And “Oh by the way, you are only the maker of the stars and universe. I’m sure my way is better.”
As we walk through our lives as believers, may we always be like Joseph and be obedient to the call of God on our lives. As believers, all of us have a calling – to do the things of God. If we are not believers, our first act of obedience is accepting Jesus and living a life that is pleasing to Him – asking forgiveness for the sins that we have committed, and pledging to live for Him. If you have never taken that step of faith, I pray that you will get in touch with me so that I can pray with you.
GOD – HELP ME BE MORE OBEDIENT IN MY LIFE AS A BELIEVER. HELP ME TO LISTEN WHAT YOU ARE TELLING ME TO DO THROUGH OTHERS AND YOUR WORD. THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME JESUS. AMEN.
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