‘When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”’ Matthew 2:19-23 NLT
In these five verses twice Joseph again receives guidance from God in his dreams. From the moment God reveals the news to Joseph about Jesus, God communicated to him via his dreams. What I find to be the most important about this is that Joseph listened carefully.
I can’t help but wonder why I have never taken a closer look at Joseph, Lord? As I have been reading about him he has become so much more important to me! In fact, I find that I want to “paint” a picture of this man to have a much more clear view of him. As I look back through the verses we have read so far, this is what I have learned about this man:
- Joseph was a righteous man and a man of integrity.
- Joseph was a carpenter which is not a quiet trade even in our world today! Perhaps the silence of his slumber was the time God knew Joseph would truly hear His voice?
- Joseph was a descendant of King David; he was from a royal family line, as was Mary.
- Joseph was sensitive to God’s guidance and trusted the will of God no matter what the consequences or the difficulty.
My study Bible notes get specific about Joseph’s character, and I believe it was why he was chosen to raise the Son of God. Let me share what the notes say about Joseph:
- God honors integrity.
- Social position is of little importance when God chooses to use us.
- Being obedient to the guidance we receive from God leads to more guidance from God.
- Feelings are not accurate measures of the rightness or wrongness of an action; faith is the only reliable measure.
Until the day Joseph died, his primary goal was to lead, protect, and care for his family according to the will and guidance of God.
It seems to me that some of the men in our world are sorely missing these honorable traits today. They lead according to their personal desires and not for the greater good of their family. This breaks my heart, not only for the blessings they miss, but for the destruction and humiliation they lay on their family. How much better would our world be if the family was led by righteous men of integrity, like Joseph?
The prophet Micah tells us the Messiah would come from humble beginnings: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Micah 5:2 NLT
The prophet Isaiah confirms Jesus comes from the line of David: “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot–yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” Isaiah 11:1 NLT (Many scholars believe the Hebrew word for branch in this verse is similar to the word Nazarene.)
Joseph, a humble man of integrity, leads his family according to the will of God, perhaps with very little understanding of the greater story surrounding the future of Jesus and God’s plan for his magnificent sacrifice…, to die for us. Joseph simply trusted God and loved his family well.
I will end my thoughts today with a bold statement: I think we can say with confidence that we not only know a lot more about this man, but Joseph is a great example for men to model, and for women to seek as a mate.
Father God, today we see a powerful picture of a man who honored you with his life. Sadly, when we look at the men and women in our world today we see many people who are taught none of these qualities, but instead are taught to please themselves first. I am not without guilt and I cry out to you for mercy in my life and for the lives of our “branch.” I ask for your forgiveness for how we parented wrongly, Lord. I am so blessed to be married to a man who looks and acts a lot like Joseph, and I thank you, Father for the gift of this man in my life who mirrors those humble and honorable traits of Joseph.
Sadly, in spite of having character traits that mirror Joseph they seem to have little importance to our branch because of our sin of complacency as parents and the strong teachings of the world. Father I pray today that as parents we ‘stop, drop, and pray’ and that our heartfelt cries encourage movement in our branch to turn from our willful ways so that we honor and follow You. I pray we land on the path that mirrors this humble man and woman, Joseph and Mary. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.