WATCHING WISDOM WORKS WONDERS
I. REVERENCE: *
II. REALITY: **
III. RELIABILITY: ***
Although Joseph was the earthly father of our Lord, it would be utter nonsense to think that he had no influence upon Jesus. There was a reason that God entrusted His Son to the care of Mary and Joseph. There were things that only Joseph could have taught our Lord that no one else could have ever done. Even though Jesus was omniscience, there were things that He observed watching this wise man, Joseph, live his life the best he could. Jesus watched His earthly father do things and endure things that no ordinary human being could have done, unless God was with him. As such, Jesus saw first hand how a mere mortal could be a faithful follower of Jehovah and make it in this world with all that Joseph had to endure.
By watching His earthly father, Jesus was able to see wisdom in practice and these things had to stay with our Lord all of His earthly life. Jesus also knew that many of Joseph’s adversities in this life came because of Him and He watched His earthly father take these trials and still raise Him with no bitterness nor hatred. Much praise is given to Mary and she certainly deserves some special attention, but Joseph deserves more honor than what he receives. It was due to his influence upon Jesus that helped Christ to see that one’s complete and unbroken allegiance to God was possible and it could be done by a mere mortal. Years later, when He was assaulted and reviled and some claimed that His sayings were hard and impossible by which to live, He might have thought of His earthly father and declared, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light-I saw it in practice from my earthly father. And if he could live for God in this life with all that he had to endure-you could live a holy life for sure.”
I see three things by which the earthly father of our Lord, Joseph, taught Jesus as the Christ Child. He was busy Watching Wisdom Work Wonders in His mind. The first thing I see is the REVERENCE that Joseph taught Jesus-for God, for Mary and for life in general, including his business as a carpenter. Next, I see that Joseph had to be teaching Jesus REALITY of life and what it meant to be a real man serving God in all areas of one’s life. Then, I see where Joseph taught his heavenly Boy about the need to be reliable in all areas of living. Jesus was certainly able to grasp the earthly importance of just how important RELIABILTY was and is in all areas of living. Joseph was a wise man and his wisdom worked wonders with Jesus.
* REVERENCE: Joseph is a star of the Bible in my book. I think he is one of the most undervalued men whose names are recorded in Holy Writ. Where would Christianity be if it were not for Joseph? Certainly, our hero could have walked away from marrying his espoused wife but it would have cast a pall upon Christianity that would never have lifted. Regardless of the age of Joseph, what he did to save Mary’s reputation and to give Christianity a legitimate name, deserves our eternal thanks. Not only was he a hero at the start of the whole affair of Mary and her pregnancy, but as long as he lived, he continued to uphold the cause of Jehovah with enthusiasm and complete submission to God. If, at any place along the way, he would have bowed out of the picture or said “No” to God, all of Christianity would have evaporated. He was and will always be my hero.
Matthew 1:20 says that, “while Joseph thought on these things….” What a statement. When, in the midst of his euphoria of his upcoming marriage, he was told the shocking news about Mary; he had every right to walk away and renounce everything, yet, “he thought on these things.” If this passage says nothing else, it says that Joseph was a reflective person and not given to take hasty actions. With this type of temperament, it is easy to see that Joseph was a reverent and worshipful man. He was given to Reflection in his worship of Jehovah and all that it entailed as being a servant of the most High God. We need people today who will take time and simply reflect on God’s wishes for their lives instead of being so busy that they miss His direction. This was one part of Joseph’s REVERENT life style that Jesus noticed and it was a part of the way Joseph conducted his worship of God-he took time and thought on the words of God. Jesus watched this wisdom of His earthly father and learned some valuable earthly lessons.
Another part of the way that Joseph showed his REVERENCE for God was in his Rectitude. Oh, the righteousness of this man. He was a devout man both in his inner heart and mind and in his outward actions, and Jesus noted. There was something holy about Joseph in his daily walk as he served Jehovah in daily living and as he did his daily work in the carpenter shop. His word was his binding contract and what he said he would do-he did, because he was a righteous man and had a deep REVERNCE for God. His righteous living and daily conversation with the Heavenly Father in his Rectitude was not missed by the all seeing eyes of his Son. We do not know too much of what Joseph said to his Boy as Jesus was maturing at home, but Joseph was a wise man and he taught his Son much by living in front of Him a noble and godly life. And, Jesus watched.
The third part of the deep REVERENCE that Joseph had in his daily living had to do with his Regularity of serving God. Every year, the family went to Jerusalem to worship. I also believe that the family went every Sabbath to the Synagogue to worship and Jesus noted the Regularity of His earthly father’s godly living. There is something good to say about a Christian dad who builds a pattern of serving the Lord. That consistency leaves an indelible imprint on the mind of the children and all who know him as they watch and know the routine of a saint of God who makes church a part of his Sunday ritual. There is something good about a dad who sets aside a time daily to talk with the Master and who reads His word. The consistency speaks volumes to the onlookers as it did to Jesus as He observed His earthly father’s consistency, his Regularity, in his worship and REVERENCE for God. Fathers take a page from the notebook of Joseph’s teaching manual-remember your children are watching you. And, if you are truly wise, you will be working wonders in the lives of the ones to whom you have been entrusted to raise.
** REALITY: I note that Joseph’s faith played a big part in the raising of Jesus. He certainly watched a wise earthly father going about his daily living serving people in his carpenter’s shop and at the same time serving Jehovah with regular devotion. I also believe, that Joseph was wise in his rearing of Jesus due to the REALITY of daily living. This daily living was more than just going to his shop every day except the Sabbath; it meant going the extra mile when God directed Joseph to do some unusual things.
The first part of Joseph’s wise teaching of Jesus was in his Resignation to the will of God. There was the first instance of marrying his betrothed wife and giving Jesus a respectable home. But there were the other times when Joseph resigned himself to follow the leadings of God and move to Egypt, set up shop again, then move back to Nazareth, Israel. As the family had to discuss these events when Jesus was maturing, our Lord had to see the wisdom of His earthly father as he obeyed the promptings of God to pick up and move. Jesus saw first hand what it costs humans to faithfully follow God. Our Lord had to admire His earthly father as He listened to the times when Joseph simply said, “Yes” to God and did as he was told to do. One wonders if this wise teaching from His earthly father helped Him in the Garden when He prayed, “Not my will, but Thine be done?”
I also cannot but help think that part of the REALITY of Joseph’s wisdom lay in how he handled his Responsibility to God, to his family and to his work. Joseph might have been a lowly carpenter, but he was wise in his teaching of his Son about what it meant to be responsible to one’s tasks, even if it was not in the best interest of the doer. Joseph never shrank form his duties to marry, to move and to magnify God. His whole life was lived with him keeping his Responsibilities to those near to him. His wisdom in teaching his Son about what it takes to be a man in this world was not lost on Jesus. Look at the Cross. Look and you will find Jesus hanging, ready to die and one of the last of his earthly Responsibilities was to His mother. The memory of dad had to play a part of this last detail of Jesus. He saw how His earthly father took time to discharge his Responsibilities to his family and in so doing, he taught Jesus wisely.
The third part of the REALITY of the wisdom of Joseph, had to do with his Relationships with everyone. I have a feeling that Joseph was completely honest in his dealings with people. I think he never intentionally cheated any of his customers. I think he was willing to take a loss on a product rather than risk hurting someone. He often grew tired and weary, but he worked on because someone needed a stool, a bench, a table. He worked hard and long hours, because he accepted a job and he would rather put himself at a disadvantage rather than go back on his word. He was honest and fair. I also feel that everyone who ever entered his shops felt like they were special. He treated everyone the same.
I also feel that his Relationship with Mary was one of love and tenderness. I think he never broached the subject of their marriage and how it cast aspirations on him as well as her. I feel he never belittled Mary or Jesus for having to run from Israel then return from Egypt and go live in another part of his nation where he was not known. I just feel that through his tenderness and kindness he was a wise teacher and his Boy had to marvel at His earthly father. I also feel that there were many times when Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father and thanked Him for allowing Him to be reared in such a holy household. I am also sure that Joseph was never rich, but he taught his Boy that riches are not always those things that one sees and posses. Joseph was a wise man who worked wonders with his wide-eyed youth.
When life began to wane in the body of this holy man, Jesus had to reflect and think of how much Joseph taught Him-He who knew all things. I think that Joseph accepted his time of departure with grace and dignity and his Son did the same when it came time for Him to yield His spirit back to His heavenly Father. Oh, the influence of Joseph was beyond calculating. His wisdom in how he worshiped and how he lived in the here-and-now of his day worked wonders in the mind of Jesus.
Dads, take a page from the lesson plan of Joseph on how to teach your child about life. Let his wisdom infiltrate your mind about being REVERENT towards God in how you Reflect on His words, on your Rectitude for Him, and your Regularity in your devotion to His cause. May you also see the wisdom of Joseph in his daily living, the REALITY of daily life in how you handle your Resignation to God when He asks you to do something for Him which might run counter to your wishes. May you view your Responsibility to your faith as being real and vital for you and for your family. Then, may you see the wisdom of Joseph as he conducted himself with his Relationships towards his family, his friends, and his God. If you and I could be as wise as Joseph was, we will leave this world a better place than what we found it when we were born.
*** RELIABILITY: Much has been said about Joseph and his faithfulness in all of his life’s ventures. What more can be said? What can be added is the fact that Joseph was wise in his RELIABILTY. God trusted him. May God trust me as He trusted Joseph.
When the angel visited this lowly carpenter with God’s message, God knew that it would be hard for him to accept His plan, but He also knew, He could count on Joseph-he was reliable. God also knew that this request of His would be hard on Joseph, because there would be much to overcome then and in the future, but He knew that Joseph was Resilient and would survive. It was not easy for him to do what he did. He was a respectable man building a respectable business and was going to have a respectable marriage with a respectable wife, now all of that was going to be tested and it would take years-if ever-to try and give legitimacy to the whole scenario. All of his remaining years he was badgered with the fact of Mary’s pregnancy before his marriage to her. This shows up in John, chapter eight, when the religious leaders said they knew who their fathers were-a direct slam at Jesus and His conception before the marriage of Joseph and Mary.
Yet the wisdom Joseph showed all through the rest of his earthly life was to not let this fact and wagging tongues destroy his love for his family and his Son. He never gave up, he never gave in, he never allowed gossip to ruin him nor his family-He was a fighter, a most Resilient man that could be counted on by God. Joseph was a RELIABLE, Resilient person, who taught his Son some very good wisdom in how to handle people who were bent on destroying others. Jesus learned much from His earthly father and put this wisdom to work for Him when later the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to belittle Him and humiliate Him, but He never gave up nor did He give into their wishes, but held His head high and stuck to His principles because His earthy father was wise and taught Him much about how to handle people who try and hurt others.
Not only was Joseph regarded as being RELIABLE because he had great Resilience, but God had to regard Joseph as being very Resourceful. He had to be able to stop, shut down his shop on a few hours notice, pack up, move to another country only to do the same thing again later. He had to be adaptable and Resourceful to keep his family fed and protected when God gave orders to move and move he did. I do not think that Joseph sat and bemoaned his lot in life. I do not think that he complained about how much money this or that was costing him. He learned to be ready, to adapt, to be Resourceful when any need arose. These characteristics had a great influence upon Jesus as He was growing up in the home of His earthly father. The wisdom He saw of how His dad adjusted to events had to impact Him for ever. This might have been part of His philosophy when He said, (loosely stated), “If one town does not accept you, shake off the dust from that village and go to another. In the meantime, you will not starve nor go hungry, but My Father in heaven will provide for you.” Why not accept that philosophy when He saw the wisdom of it put into practice before His own eyes?
The final thing I note about the RELIABILITY of Joseph has to do with his Resolve to do what was right, regardless of what others said. There was something unusual about this man. He would rather be true to his principles than popular. He was to be counted on by God because he was a resolute person. He stood for that in which he believed and he was true to his God.
The wisdom of this lowly carpenter can never be measured. No, he was not flashy, rich, popular nor well known, yet God picked him because of so many qualities, one of which, was his wisdom.
It behooves all fathers to do as Joseph did, take what God has to offer you and make the best of it. God has chosen each father for a specific task to do and one of them is to be a wise father to his children. No, God does not demand that dads be rich, famous, well-known or have any other earthly attributes. But, God does demand that each father be wise and teach his son about how to live for our heavenly Father. Wisdom is know by its holder and those who observe a wise person. Wisdom is not hidden. May we live a wise life before our children so that they in turn will grow up to be wise adults in learning to live for Him.