"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife." (NIV) Matthew 1:24
I wonder why God didn't provide us more information about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. He seems obscure after the birth of Jesus. There are a few mentions of Joseph following the birth, but nothing by which we can detemine the type of person he is. As always, I am sure there is a reason for this. Yet, there is much we can learn from Joseph that can help us in this life on earth.
Joseph, above all else, was a person who was obedient to God. The love and admiration Joseph must have had to do all that he did to ensure Jesus was born, was safe, and had an earthly father. Joseph obeyed God on so many different occasions. Let us explore just a few of them.
Joseph finds out that the person he was engaged to, Mary, is pregnant. He was not with her, so I am sure he had some incredible throughts running through his head. God knew those thoughts and ensured that he touched Joseph's heart to complete what the prophets had shared. Still, even after the dream, Joseph could have walked away. I am sure he still had doubt about where this journey with Mary would take them. Yet, he didn't walk away, he followed the path God provided.
Joseph safely takes Mary to Bethlehem. He obeys the laws that were laid out before him, although the trip was not going to be easy with a pregnant woman. Yet, Joseph does this - he takes care of Mary and the tough journey to Bethlehem brings Jesus.
As they settle into Bethlehem, God once again speaks to Joseph, telling him to leave Bethlehem immediately. Joseph once again, doesn't hesitate, but leaves as God had instructed. Joseph's faith in God and his love for his Lord are evident in so many situations. His obedience to God and to the laws of the land are a wonderful example for us.
How often is God speaking to us and are we obeying his instructions? How often does He tell us to do one thing, and we do "our" thing instead? We know the laws of God, the ten commandments, yet, how often are we obedient to them? Joseph's obedience is a wonderful picture of what happens when we follow and are obdient to God. In doing so, every step of the way, God provided for Joseph when Joseph obeyed God. What happens when we obey God? Do we find ourselves happier, more at peace? I know that when I stray from God's direction and where He wants to send me, it never turns out well. When I follow His instructions, my life takes a more blessed path.
Take time this week to get to know what God wants from you. Once you know it, don't turn away an do your own thing, but be obedient unto God. For our obedience will yield much goodness.
"Dearest God, how man times we have not obeyed what you have asked from us. They are too numerou to count. Please let me be still, God, and focus on what you want me to do. Let me follow that path instead of walking away from it. May I closely follow your instruction and enjoy all the blessings you have for me. In your nam I pray, AMEN."