One night a man lay sleeping peacefully and hopefully, settled in how his life would unfold. Nothing specatcular, mostly ordinary with a future of creating things with his hands. It would be a good living, maybe not rich, but good, with his yound wife by his side. That life suddenly shattered around him like over-fired pottery, and then the future looked bleak, indeed. His wife to be was found with child. He knew he had never laid a hand upon her in that way and had never known her intimately. But, he intended to quietly set her aside privately, without public shame. He was a righteous man.
Joseph valued God’s Law and knew what God meant when He said He wanted tender hearts instead of sacrifice. He showed mercy where the Law said stoning when he found out about Mary’s pregnancy.
Joseph immediately obeyed God. I believe that when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his dream that Joseph got up immediately and got Mary that night from her house and brought her home to be his wife. This did numerous things, but one thing it did was eliminate any shame Mary might be subjected to because of her pregnancy. Joseph didn’t say, ‘But God…’ He didn’t drag his feet trying to figure out “what it all meant”, he just got up and went and did God’s bidding.
How often do I hear kids backtalking their parents, and parents smiling at each other when it happens? It is worse than disobedience, it is dangerous... especially when we should obey God immediately. He is more than our Father, He is our God.
Joseph was a young man and passionate (they had eight kids including Jesus), but he was able to keep his hands off his wife until Jesus was born. That took considerable self-control, or perhaps God had a hand in that to help him… who knows? Joseph realized the importance of the virgin birth and behaved accordingly.
And if the Angel of the Lord wasn’t enough, Joseph had the testimony of the Magi who brought Gold Frankincense and Myrrh. These were gifts signifying the royalty of the child. Gold was given to kings. Frankincense and Myrrh were spices used in the embalming process developed by the Egyptians. Only royalty and nobles received the ultimate type of embalming where these spices were used. That kind of embalming cost about $2000. I believe God had these Magi give these gifts so that Joseph and Mary could sell the spices in Egypt for a good price in order for them to live comfortably until it was time to go home to Galilee.
Sadly, I am not sure God would be able to find such a young man today. God would have preserved one for Himself, to be sure, but since He constantly searches the hearts of men, I wonder what He actually sees.
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