Summary: Have you ever stood where Joseph stood - not at a Stable in Bethlehem - just questioning God about the direction He has for your life?
Christmas Characters #2 – Joseph - 2nd December 2007 pm
Joseph was a man hand-picked and personally prepared by God for a special mission, his life was not without its trials and tragedies. In fact, Joseph faced, weathered and overcame trials that would have derailed many other people. A quick look at what Joseph faced and how he reacted can help us as we seek to become all the Lord would have us to be.
I. Who Was Joseph
Joseph = let him add.
Joseph was of Royal descent (Mat 1:6) we are shown Josephs lineage Through David to Solomon.
It would appear that Joseph was no ordinary man. From our text, it is easy to see that Joseph was a man of compassion, integrity, decency and love. He was a man who honoured God’s will in his life, and was totally committed to doing God’s will. Joseph was a humble man who was more concerned about what God wanted out of his life than about what he himself wanted.
As you know, this man Joseph is betrothed to a young woman named Mary. The betrothal period was, for all intents and purposes, just like a marriage, except for the fact that the couple did not live together and did not engage in physical relations. Both parties were expected to keep themselves pure for the day they physically came together as husband and wife. It was common for the betrothal period to last several months or longer.
It was during this period of time that Joseph discovers the Mary is pregnant. No doubt, she shared with him her side of the story as the phrase “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” But, who had ever heard of such a thing? Joseph knows where babies come from and to him, this is a shocking discovery!
No doubt like most men, Joseph was looking forward to the day when he and Mary came together to share their lives. He was probably preparing the home where they would live. He was busy putting together all the things they would need as husband and wife. I am sure his days were filled with work and his nights with dreams about all the future held for Mary, for himself and for the children they would someday have together.
Then, like a cruel slap in the face, came the news that shattered all his hopes and his dreams. Mary is pregnant and Joseph is not the father. For a time, it must have felt like his heart had been ripped from his chest. It must have hurt as every dream he had came crashing down around him. All of his plans, his hopes and his dreams fell from his grasp as though they were grains of sand. It was a time of shattered dreams.
III. What was he like?
A. A Just Man – Matthew 1:19
Now, Joseph is faced with a dilemma. The Bible says that he was a “just” man. This means that he was “righteous and one who kept the divine laws.” He knows what the Law says. It is quite clear! When a woman is found guilty of adultery, she is to be stoned to death, Deut. 22:20-22! But, there is another option. Deut. 24:1 says that he can just give her a bill of divorcement and send her away.
As he meditates, Joseph determines that he does not want to embarrass Mary publicly; he does not want to see her stoned to death either. So, to his mind, the best course of action is to deal with the matter privately, and just divorce her quietly. No doubt the things Joseph pondered broke his heart. It was a time for sorrowful decisions!
How differently Joseph handled this than his ancestor Judah did in a similar situation. Gen 38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
Some persons of a rigorous temper would blame Joseph for his clemency: but it is here spoken of to his praise; because he was a just man, therefore he was not willing to expose her. He was a religious, good man; and therefore inclined to be merciful as God is, and to forgive as one that was forgiven.
B. A Spiritual Man – Matthew 1:20 - 23
Joseph does not take matters into his own hands, he doesn’t make a rash decision in the heat of the moment. The Bible says that he “thought on these things.”
You can imagine Joseph laying this all before the Lord, asking Him what he should do. Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Joseph gets his answer.