The Faith of Joseph

Day 7

Matthew 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
     “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
          and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from 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.
Matthew 1:18-25
We have a glimpse into the depth of righteousness accredited to Joseph. In our modern Christian view, the definition of a “righteous person” is deemed externally- a follower of rules who does and says all the right things- someone with a “good raising” that respects his elders and answers “yes’ ma'am” “no sir”, and in the words of Johnson Bible College someone who doesn’t smoke, drink, chew, or run with girls who do. But in these two short scriptures, we know Joseph and the kind of man who would be the stand in, earthly father for the Messiah. His righteousness went beyond the external nature of being a Law follower. He was “just”. He was unwilling to shame his bride not just so he could “appear” righteous, in fact quite the opposite. Joseph’s public reputation would forever be marred after this one: known not as the “good” guy who followed the rules and said the right things, but the one who at best divorced his soon to be wife and at worst the one who got her pregnant to begin with.

Joseph’s private thoughts about the angel’s declaration were not recorded, but his actions were. Joseph acted upon faith at the word of the messenger of Yahweh. He did not divorce Mary as the law gave him the right to do. In line with those of his lineage who took brave acts of faith and trusted Yahweh for what they could not see, Joseph believed and hoped for the fruition of the story, that the Messiah would come and bring redemption for all people just as he had promised to his ancestor Abram: “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great… and all peoples on earth will be blessed by you” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Maybe you have stood where Joseph stood. Confused, caught between what God says is right and what makes sense. You begin to question whether you made the right choice or turned the right way.

Joseph was obedient to God. He was obedient when things were right, and all seemed well. He was obedient when things got dark, when all seemed to be falling apart. Joseph did not let his confusion disrupt his obedience to the will of God.

In this moment of divine intervention, Joseph’s life shifted. Joseph’s perspective shifted from an earthly thing to an eternal thing. When hearing Joseph’s story, we often think “sure, he heard from God, but that never happens to me.” In Matthew 6:5-15 we see Jesus institute the Lord’s prayer as He teaches what it means to pray. While there are a lot of truths in this prayer, the one truth that stands out to me is verse 10, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” For Joseph to be obedient in that moment he had a choice to make: would he answer the call to a life fully surrendered and obedient with the situation given to him? Or would he run and flee? In all honesty, with what we know about the law, Joseph did not have to stay with Mary. There is no one who would have faulted Joseph had he chose a different path. But he didn’t. Joseph’s faith was so strong that even in the toughest times he chose obedience. To fully be obedient to the will of God, we must surrender all to Christ. It’s not an easy path. Joseph’s path was not easy, but the riches of his choice and obedience to Christ are abundant in both this life and the next.

For us to live a life of obedience, we must trust in the faithfulness of God’s will as it pertains to where we are at in the present.
Nick Viers | Meadowview Campus Pastor

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