The Obedience of Joseph

Have you ever been so disappointed with someone, but you knew you needed to show them grace? I feel this with my dogs a lot. My littlest one tends to get herself into trouble. I can feel the steam boiling up in my head, and all I want to do is scream “why do you keep eating bad stuff in the backyard?!?” However, I see how horrible she feels, and this deep remorse in her eyes. I know I need to give her grace, and take care of her like I promised God I would.

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I mean how do you say “No” to that face?

Joseph had a more serious level of disappointment. The woman he was pledged to marry had just arrived home from a trip, and it was obvious to everyone that not only had she not been faithful, she had committed a sin that resulted in a baby in her womb.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Joseph I’m sure did not want to be obedient to the Lord in this situation. I’m sure he wanted to go about with his plan of quietly divorcing her, and keeping life simple in his little town. Instead, he listens to the angel, and does exactly what he tells him. He exercised his faith in God here by being obedient and loving, even when he doesn’t want to naturally.

Today, ask God to be present, and journal about what characteristics and gifts Joseph demonstrates in this text. What can you learn from him about having faith and being obedient?

Have more time? Want to go deeper?

  • In Matt. 2:13-15, we again see Joseph in a pivot leadership role in the Christmas story. What does he do, and how can you apply this to your life right now?
  • Read Luke 2:1-7. What can we learn from Joseph in this portion of the story?

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