Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 12

Walking with God in integrity: Joseph

Bible text(s)

19Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. 20While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived.

Matthew 1:19-20GNBOpen in Bible reader

The above verses reveal three things about Joseph, the man God chose to be the earthly father of his Son. He was a “righteous man”, he had a considerate nature and he was responsive to God’s guidance in his life. These qualities would have a positive influence in Jesus’ life. What the verses do not reveal, however, is that he was of the lineage of David.

Matthew’s genealogy “of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham …” (Matthew 1:1), which ends with “… Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:16), serves as fascinating evidence of God’s plan and prophecy fulfilled, showing fully how Joseph fits his important role as Jesus’ earthly father.

The Bible tells us that “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). We understand the implications and why Mary’s explanation would have been mystifying to Joseph, and probably hurtful. Would anyone be able to believe such a thing? He recognised that he should break the betrothal, because he knew that it was not his child she was carrying. Even though they were only betrothed to each other, in Jewish law, it was a legal contract that only death or divorce could sever and an adulterer could be stoned to death. Because of his regard for her, though, he resolved to quietly divorce her, save her from embarrassment and uphold her dignity.

Then, God stepped in: an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and confirmed that Mary had spoken the truth. Joseph was determined to stand by her in spite of the delicacy of the situation, in which his action could then have implicated him too. His openness to God was very important. It saved them then, and saved them later as Joseph would have three visits by angels in dreams, each time bringing vital information for Jesus’ safety and welfare, evidenced by when they had to flee to Egypt and later, when and to where to return (Matthew 2:13,19,22).

Joseph’s integrity and strong moral values in keeping his word to Mary, and supporting her in the face of a scandal, speak to us today of God’s care and will for each person. As God’s children, we too should live lives of integrity in which we sincerely uphold the dignity of all people.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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