As the world prepares to celebrate Father’s Day, it is our joy to present this devotional about a special biblical father. We would like to focus on the life of Joseph, the earthly father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible shows us the following characteristics about Joseph.
1) He was a righteous man – Matthew 1:19 says, ‘Because Joseph… was a righteous man’. This desire to do what was right is clearly seen in the way he handled Mary’s pregnancy, Jesus’ birth, and the challenge of being a father to the Savior of the world. His moral behavior too was exemplary as seen in Matthew 1:25.
Fathers, let’s always strive to do what is right, even when it may not seem the best way forward; even when life seems unfair and painful. That’s the best example we can set for our children.
2) He handled crisis with dignity- Joseph faced the worst possible crisis a man could face before his wedding, as he learned of Mary’s pregnancy (Matthew 1:18). Yet, he handled it with a beautiful sense of dignity. Without reacting with bitterness or harshness, we find that Joseph made every effort to protect the love of his life. He did not want to expose Mary to public shame (Matthew 1:19).
In this age of social media, it’s so sad at times to see couples making public spectacles of themselves when facing such crisis situations. They expose each other to public shame! I actually once saw a man slapping his wife in public! Let us however, learn to handle crises with dignity and a ‘quiet spirit’ like Joseph.
Even though Joseph acted with dignity, still in his mind, the wedding was most probably over- The Bible says, ‘He had considered this’ (vs 20a). That’s when God intervened!
3) Joseph heard from God – God spoke to Joseph many times, but initially through an angel who appeared in a dream. The angel gave him what was something like a mini sermon (Matthew 1:20-21), and his wedding was alive again!
Joseph heard next from God in Matthew 2:13-15 (‘…Escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you…’). Thereafter, in Matthew 2:19-21, the Lord instructed him to return to Israel, and in Matthew 2:22-23, he again heard from God and decided to settle down in Nazareth. All these instructions were prophetic in nature.
Friends, we are living in wicked and dangerous times. As fathers, it is vital that we learn to hear prophetic words from God for the benefit of our families and our ministries. Our children’s spiritual lives depend to a great extent on this! How long has it been since you heard clearly from the Lord?
4) He obeyed God’s voice – On every relocation he had to go through, Joseph obeyed the Lord’s voice without hesitation or delay.
Relocating with a family is never easy. I know that well because in the first 5 years of our marriage, we changed houses 5 times!! That was quite a challenge. In Joseph’s case, on every occasion he was asked to uproot and relocate, he obeyed the Lord implicitly. It’s an example all fathers should follow. Obedience to God will never lead to failure.
5) He taught his Son well – Joseph faithfully fulfilled the requirements of the scriptures with regards to his family and his Son (Luke 2:21-24, 27, 39, 41). As a result, the Bible says, Jesus ‘became strong, was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him’ (Luke 2:40). Luke 2: 47 talks about the amazing understanding (knowledge) Jesus had, while Luke 2:52 tells us ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man’. Looks like Joseph did a pretty good job as a father!!
The best investment we as fathers can leave for our children is not a big bank balance, not the latest toys and gadgets, and not even a solid education. It is to implant the Word of God in their hearts!
As I write this, I realize how much help I need from the Lord, to fulfill my role as a father well. I realize the shortcomings I have and pray for God’s grace and wisdom for the task. May He help you too.
Happy Father’s Day!