Joseph is a man about whom we know a relatively small amount. These verses of Scripture, however, reveal some important parts of Joseph’s character. Walk with me backwards through these verses to understand the man who would be the earthly father to his Savior.
In verse twenty-four we are told that when Joseph awoke from his dream he did exactly what Gabriel told him to do. Regardless of thoughts of hesitation that may have gone through his mind, Joseph awoke and was positive that he had received a message from God and one that he must heed. In this one verse we learn that Joseph was a man who knew God well and understood the many ways God communicates. Joseph believed, perhaps without understanding, that he was worthy to hear from God…what a necessary quality of the soon-to-be earthly father of Jesus!
When we read that Joseph planned to walk quietly away (v.19) we are actually being reminded that Joseph had a very difficult decision to make. Although their relationship remained pure, Mary was pregnant and the law of the day said that she should have to pay…perhaps with her life. Joseph could have gone public with the news that Mary was pregnant, yet doing so would, at the minimum, have resulted in Mary becoming a social outcast. It’s possible that her family would have disowned her, her friends would have fled from her presence lest they be thought of in the same way, and her first pregnancy would have been an even greater challenge. Joseph, however, even before the influential visit from Gabriel made a life-changing decision. He decided he would not put Mary through that turmoil, but would quietly leave her in hopes of protecting her relationships and life possibilities. I believe it is this decision which reveals why he was able to so easily trust the word God sent through Gabriel and why God chose both Mary and Joseph to be the parents of his Son. Without even knowing the Truth, Joseph was willing to go against the way of society in order to show the love of his life as much love and respect as he was able. God chose Joseph because Joseph was a man of integrity, humility, love, and faith. He heard God and he listened.
(Note: the above is original content written by this author in 2004. I suggest having a journal and Bible on-hand when you sit down with this devotional in order to complete the full aspects of it.)