Since posting about Mary's act of worship yesterday, my thoughts have turned to Joseph's worship and God's calling on Joseph's life. When talking about worshipping fully and thinking about Joseph, Joseph's act of worship was the act of obedience.
Jesus tells us in John 14 that if we love Him we will obey all that he teaches us. (Did you notice that word all? I did.) God loves us and gave Himself up for us. And we love God and obey Him. Obedience is not some bargaining tool with God. It is not some means of appeasement of God to keep Him at a distance. And it does not have to be forced on us or given out of fear either. It can be and IS a loving response to His love for us - that indeed brings Him closer. The Holy Spirit teaches us through the Apostle Paul in Romans 12 that offering our lives as living sacrifices is our spiritual act of worship. That is to say that we sacrifice ourselves to God's instructions, living by them as an act of worship!!! Obedience is loving worship!
I could get stuck there, preaching, pretty easily. And in fact, I did for a minute there. And my point is really somewhere else today.
So, I am thinking about Joseph and the fact that God chose him as an earthly father. Now, this is not a new thought to me, but the depth of it seems newly significant today.
God is the eternal Father in Heaven. All fathers, everywhere on earth are by virtue of being human inferior fathers in comparison to the fatherhood of God. But in God's plan to come to earth and save us He needed a father. And He chose Joseph.
What about this man would inspire God to choose Joseph has His protector, provider, spiritual guide through childhood, teacher, discipliner, instructor, and nurturer? I mean God who Himself knows fatherhood better than any of us has the opportunity to choose his own earthly father and because He is God would have made the perfect choice. That choice was Joseph!
And here is just about all we know about Joseph. He was likely a carpenter. He was from Nazareth in Galilee. He was from the lineage of King David. And then we have two glimpses into his character. As mentioned above, we see that he knew how to obey God. Or could we conclude that he loved God enough to obey Him? Was it this kind of love that made God choose Joseph for the role of earthly father to the Heavenly Father?
But there is one more glimpse into his character. In Matthew 1:19 we are told that Joseph, when made aware of Mary's apparent infidelity had decided not to accuse in public - exposing her to the death penalty. Instead he had decided to divorce her quietly 'to protect her from public disgrace.' And we see that Joseph was a grace-filled man. Grace filled!
Of all the descendants of King David, when God was choosing a suitable dad for Himself, grace-filled, obedient Joseph was the one man to make the cut. And the world was changed because in these ways Joseph made himself available to be used by God.
I wonder what God could do through you and me if we engendered more of these character traits in our own lives. I wonder how our neighborhoods, workplaces, friendships, and families could be transformed if we did.
Have a Joseph Christmas too!
I had to add one more image... As a dad, I really love this idea of Joseph with Jesus.