As I read through the Christmas story again I was struck by the faith of an unsung hero; an ordinary Joe.
Joseph is an essential part of the nativity scene but I don’t recall dwelling on God’s dealings with him. In Matthew chapters 1 and 2 we read that three times God asked him to do something huge and three times he obeyed. Firstly, an angel appeared to him and told him that Mary was to have a child named Jesus. The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and Joseph was to take Mary as his wife. Secondly, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him to take his family to Egypt to escape from Herod who was determined to kill Jesus. Thirdly, an angel appeared in a dream again, this time telling Joseph to take his family to Nazareth. Each time Joseph was obedient and each time he fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament. His role was pivotal in the history of the world yet it is often overlooked.
We don’t read much more of Joseph in the New Testament but these first two chapters tell us three things about him.
- He heard God.
- He had faith in God.
- He obeyed God.
Joseph obviously knew God. God knew he could speak to him and he would listen. God knew he could ask big things of him and that he would respond. That kind of relationship doesn’t come overnight. Abraham was a man of faith yet his faith had to be built up over time. He wasn’t asked to sacrifice his son until he had proved faithful on smaller issues! As I thought about Joseph I asked God to forgive me for the times when I have blocked out His voice with the busyness of the here and now. I asked Him to forgive me for the times when I haven’t trusted and obeyed but done my own thing instead. And yet I know that His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness. I can ask Him to speak to me afresh. I can ask Him to increase my faith in him. I can ask Him to use me in whatever way He wants to further His kingdom. Praise God!