Joseph

This One is for Christmas

This Christmas I decided to look a bit into the different Christmas accounts in the Gospels and rediscover the miracle of the baby Jesus. From what I learned, the family of Jesus tells us so much of who God is. For example, I already did a post some time ago about the women listed in the genealogy of Jesus, but again looking at his less than perfect relatives, we recognize that he came from a godly  lineage, although their actions at times proved otherwise, yet redemption undeniably dripped heavily throughout their stories. Therefore, we shouldn’t get hung up on the skeletons and embarrassment in Jesus’ genealogy, but rather the allowance of God’s work in their lives; they may not have started well and had some rough patched in the middle, but they ended in good standing.

When we consider and apply this for our lives, we must remember that for God to work in our lives, we can’t just do what we want and think He will bless us. To receive the blessings and miracles God wants for us, we must humble ourselves and have a surrendered life to Him; he blesses our obedience and promises to exalt us as we live in humility.

Thus, it only makes sense to consider who God chose to be the earthly parents of His Only Son. Yes, God can make somebodies out of nobodies, but it’s those things that are done when no one else is looking that make the difference. To protect His Son, he had to be able to trust the woman who would be his mother and the man who would be his father. Most of us hear of the purity of Mary, which we can see in her tone and her interaction with the angel when she learned she was pregnant with the Son of God. Though ordinary, Mary was deemed worthy to birth the Christ child. Thus, it raises the question of who was considered worthy to be the head of the home in which Jesus would live, so we must look closer at the character of Joseph, Mary’s husband, Jesus’ earthly father.

See the source image

In none of the Gospels do we find any words spoken by Joseph, and some say that Joseph died before Jesus’ ministry. Nonetheless, the account of Joseph in Luke tells us all we need to know. First of all, God demonstrated his intent for the family structure being that the angel appeared to Joseph, the head of the home, telling him to keep his family together and not divorce his wife, then to leave for Egypt, and then to return home. Subsequently, not once did he ask questions or second guess, but he trusted and revered the Lord enough to do immediately as he was mandated.

Though it applies to both men and women, I think it speaks more to women. People often diminish all of what marriage is and the impact it has on one’s life as a whole, for one reason or another. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder if there were other worthy women to have carried the Christ-child but their husbands could not be trusted. How loudly does that speak to us? We have to be very selective as to who we choose to lead us, cover us, and protect what the Lord is birthing and growing inside of us. If we entertain the wrong man, get impatient, and or marry too fast or defile ourselves with someone who is not our husband, we run the chance of killing the baby inside of us, or at least delaying the miracle he has for us. If Mary’s husband was disobedient or didn’t move immediately after the angel appeared to him the second time, then who knows if they would have made it out of Bethlehem alive. And if Jesus died as a baby…

On the other hand, I can’t help but consider why we were not given more interaction with Joseph, or at least his words. My only and immediate thought is that the Author did not want to overshadow who Jesus’ Father really was, the Living God of the universe. Luke expresses his manhood and Mark tells of his servanthood, but in the same manner, Matthew expresses him as the King and John deems him as God in human form.

During Christmas, we celebrate his arrival as the foretold Messiah, but we mustn’t forget the awesomeness that this tiny baby is the soon coming King, that he is God. It’s truly the miracle of Christmas, all of eternity of heaven and earth came consumed as a tiny baby, brought in by the most ordinary but worthy man and woman of God. As we strive to be ourselves for a purpose, we must ask if the Lord would find even our ordinary, our surrendered life, to be worthy to bring forth his miracles to change history.

 

Imperfectly Perfect

He was a little snot, you may even say an arrogant snot. When we are first introduced to Joseph we see how the greater love he received from his father put him a bad place with his brothers, so much in so that within the first 11 verses there is a progressive hatred from his brothers. If I were Joseph I would not have worn the coat and would have tried anything to please my brothers, and I definitely would not have bragged or shared my dreams with them that I knew would make them salty, let alone be a tattletale.

At the age of 17 we pick up the story of who would become one of the greatest Biblical heroes. However, before we see the transformed life of snotty teenager, we also learn see the work of God in one of his elder brothers, so much in so that he initiated the bloodline of the Messiah, Judah. It is no secret that all the brothers of Joseph hated him, however, two of them, Reuben and Judah, were empathetic, especially toward their father, for it was Reuben who stopped the brothers from killing him and it was Judah who stopped them a second time and suggested they sell him as a slave. Even though he hated his brother, he knew it was wrong to kill him and put Joseph in the place where God needed him to be to elevate him. It is because of this that I believe the Lord chose to usher in His Son through his bloodline. Even in Judah’s imperfections, he came to a place of humility and tried to do what was right, not only with Joseph but with Tamar as well. Back to Joseph.

Just like his brother, Joseph had to be humbled in order to be ready for the calling God had on his life, which took 13 years. From being the favored son to being a slave, accused of sexual assault and jailed, Joseph became a man who trusted the Lord and did well in whatever work he was in while he was in Egypt. His story reminds us that even when we find ourselves in the most unfavorable situations that God orchestrates, we must do them honorably to our best ability, because we do it unto the Lord and there we will find favor with both man and God.

Judah was jealous and hated his brother and had enough drama with his sons’ indiscretions, but it is the tribe of Judah that brought forth Christ. Joseph was a snotty spoiled teenager, but God used him to rule a nation and establish the beginning of a people we know as Jews. They were both imperfect, but God still used them for His glory. This is so pertinent for us, because we all have vices and character flaws that cause others to look over us, but God is famous for taking the imperfect to fulfill His perfect plan. Continue to live and be you for a purpose with your imperfections, and allow God to transform you and take you higher than you ever imagined. Remember this, if only God knows your name, that is all that really matters and it won’t be long before the rest of the world knows your name.

We are Not Gods

There is a common belief that assumes that we, humans, are gods or can become a god in some way or another. Even though, it sounds pretty, that is a dangerous philosophy to carry, if for no other reason, we can barely keep track and hold together our own lives, let alone be responsible for some distinct facet of every other person’s life. In my opinion, people just want to feel good about themselves and put themselves on a pedestal and be acknowledged. We want that sense of control and power. On the flip side, people tend to deem others as gods just because of what they have accomplished or what they have, lifting them up as some supreme being. Truth be told, these supreme beings, can do absolutely nothing for us, let alone our souls.

May I just say, we are not gods nor can we become a god. We are virtually powerless and whatever sense of ability and power we do claim, it all comes from God anyway, ask Jesus, Paul, or James. So often, when pride or race gets in the way, we want to feel worthy and valuable after we have been treated wrong, misused, or abused, and we lose sight of the beauty in us and take it to the extreme. Many times, we get haughty, self-righteous, and hurt people in the process. We tend to believe the world owes us something to recompense for our godhood.

That is a lie from the pit of Hell.

We are humans, no more, no less. We are God’s precious and prized possession. We all in some way or another have been hurt, broken, disappointed, discriminated, abused, or misused, but our value does not come from other people. Our value comes from the Creator Himself, and as I recently heard it, our worth does not come from what we do or don’t do, it comes from birth. As sons and daughters of God, that is what makes us special. You must never lose sight of that.

It’s interesting, because this is not the avenue I originally wanted to go in when speaking of this, but I will take you to the story of Joseph, where I was inspired. At the end of the story, when he was reunited with his brothers, and they were feeling guilty, remorseful, and obligated to him due to all that they had done to him, Joseph showed compassion. It is there he asks the question, “am I in place of God?” That stood out to me because even in the midst of his new positioning, he had every ability to avenge himself for what his brothers did, but he realized this one thing, he was not God, nor did he have the right or any form of divine power to condemn those that wronged them. The very next verse you understand why. Joseph acknowledged that because of all that had happened since he was sold into slavery, and he chose to stay faithful and committed to God, he was able to lead a nation. He knew his place and God blessed him for it.

Let that be a reminder to us. Your value and identity comes from God Himself who created us perfectly, fearfully, and wonderfully. Though you have been mistreated, that does not give you the right to step on the backs of others; the world owes you nothing. All that we have and all that we are comes from God anyway, and at any moment, He can choose to take it away. So don’t put others or yourself on a pedestal so much that it blinds your view of God. For money, prestige, power, influence, talent, education, success, or anything of the liking does not make you worthy, but rather being birthed into a relationship with the only God. This means, as Joseph came to know, that we do not have godlike powers to do whatever we want when we want, no matter what the situation is. Science and emotions can cloud that truth, so be mindful and remember to do what God has called you to do, and let Him do what He will do. Don’t take His job or even a portion of it, by acting as a god or claiming to be one. When you take His job, not only will you miss out, but you will fail miserably, not only yourself but others, because no one can do it like He can.

Know your place, and be blessed for it. Be you for a purpose, and you are a human, a wonderful creation by God.