Character

21 08 2009

How do we react when things don’t go as planned? When we are crushed and bitterly disappointed? With frustration, anger, rebellion, bitterness or illogical behavior? Or with calm, temperance, acceptance and sound judgment?

How a man responds reveals his character.

Though receiving small mention in the Bible, Joseph was a man of faith and quality character. The Bible calls him a “righteous man” for not denouncing Mary to public disgrace and perhaps death when she was found pregnant. Joseph, in faith, obeyed dreams and protected his family–which had caused him so much trouble–by taking them to another country in the middle of the night.

Probably a young man, Joseph endured many physical and social trials when his betrothed was found pregnant. “Was it Joseph?” I’m sure many asked, defiling his honor and reputation. What a crushing disappointment to have his perfect bride and respectable wedding spoiled; even more to deny himself the physical pleasures of marriage, while shouldering the extraordinary weight of the responsibility of caring for his new wife and her “miracle child.”

Even after the child is born, the evil king was searching to murder the boy. Joseph had to flee his homeland and live in a foreign land among foreign people. When he returned to Judea, he had to live in a town despised by the surrounding area. Not exactly what he signed up for when he signed the betrothal papers.

I would NOT be okay with that. I would NOT be okay with God completely and violently disrupting my life. But Joseph was, as far as we can tell from the text.

God said, “marry her,” and Joseph did.

God said, “leave for Egypt” and he immediately packed up and left.

God said, “return to Israel,” and he did.

God said to not go to Bethlehem, but to Nazareth. And Joseph did.

Joseph willingly shouldered the responsibility for caring for God’s son, despite the disappointment, danger, anxiety and hardships he faced.

Joseph was a man of strong faith and godly character. He may not have known what he was doing when he signed the betrothal papers, but God sure did.

God chose him because he was a good man for the job. Because he was a man of character.

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