Bible Ballistics: BBs #768 Christmas Ponderings!!! #2
Let’s look today at “the carpenter”, Joseph, the builder, whether he worked in wood, stone, or other materials, he was still a builder! Why Joseph? Why a carpenter? Only God really knows but I would like to give us some food for thought. For in reality, we are all ‘builders’ of one sort or another.
“And he went out from thence,
and came into his own country;
and his disciples follow him.
2 And when the sabbath day was come,
he began to teach in the synagogue:
and many hearing him
were astonished, saying,
From whence hath this man
and what wisdom is this
which is given unto him,
that even such mighty works
are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter,
the son of Mary,
the brother of James,
and of Juda,
and are not his sisters here with us?
And they were offended at him.” Mark 6:1-3
It seems apparent that Joseph was not in the picture, most likely not alive at the time, but his part in God’s plan is often overlooked in our attention to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord! Let’s spend some time this morning (or whatever time you’re reading this…) looking at this humble man of faith and obedience.
“Is not this the carpenter’s son?
is not his mother called Mary?
and his brethren,
James, and Joses,
and Simon, and Judas?” Matthew 13:55
Jesus was called a “carpenter” and “the carpenter’s son”, and it was customary for the son to follow in his father’s trade, so we can surmise that Joseph was building into his son the skills of life and livelihood, as well as modeling a life of faith and obedience. And while we don’t know much about Joseph after Jesus’ childhood, we can see that he was known as the carpenter by those of his community, and his life of obedience is so clear in Matthew’s account of the incarnation.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:
When as his mother Mary
was espoused to Joseph,
before they came together,
she was found with child
of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband,
being a just man,
and not willing
to make her
a publick example,
was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared unto him
in a dream, saying,
Joseph, thou son of David,
fear not to take unto thee Mary
for that which is conceived in her
is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people
from their sins…
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep
did as the angel of the Lord
had bidden him,
and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not
till she had brought forth
her firstborn son:
and he called his name JESUS.” Matthew 1:18-21 & 25
I don’t think we can imagine what this man of God thought of all these things, but he obediently obeyed the direction of God. Just consider:
a just man—being a “just” man–
a compassionate man—considered Mary–
a diligent man—thought about what to do–
a thoughtful man—“he thought on these things”–
an obedient man—HE DID AS THE ANGEL SAID—
a self-controlled man—he knew her not….until…–
“he called his name JESUS”!!!
I am amazed at this simple man, a carpenter-a builder, was so receptive to God’s direction, and did things that were totally outside the realm of human reason. Yet today, we think God has to explain Himself, show us the outline, draw us a map, and line it out for our future! Oh, Lord, help me be more like Joseph who was willing to step out in faith (literally) and follow your direction, not just this once but again when the “wise men came” as he took Mary and the babe to Egypt.
“When they saw the star,
with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house,
they saw the young child
with Mary his mother,
and fell down,
and worshipped him:
and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts;
12 And being warned of God in a dream
that they should not return to Herod,
they departed into their own country
13 And when they were departed,
the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph
in a dream, saying,
Arise, and take the young child
and his mother, and flee into Egypt,
and be thou there
until I bring thee word:
for Herod will seek the young child
to destroy him.
14 When he arose,
he took the young child
and his mother by night,
and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there
until the death of Herod:
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the Lord
by the prophet, saying,
Out of Egypt
have I called my son.” Matthew 2:10-15
This precious man was willing to forsake his own way, and go God’s way: he took his (in our terms fiancée’) promised wife who was pregnant, but not by him; he refused to accuse her of infidelity (which meant he was taking the blame for her pre-wedding pregnancy) and took her into his home; he cared for her without benefit of connubial bliss; he took her with him to Bethlehem to register with the government where Mary delivered baby Jesus; he hosted shepherds who also had an amazing story of angelic announcements of this child. He apparently took up residence in Bethlehem and provided for his little family; he had to have been flabbergasted at the presence and story of the ‘wise men’ who had traveled long and far to bring gifts to this young child/infant (in the house not the stable). Then he obeyed the message from another angelic messenger to leave Bethlehem by night and take his family to Egypt (probably financed by the gifts of the wise men)! And waited until God told him to return, which he did with great concern for the safety of his family, and faithful obedience and concern to obey and protect the child!
“But when Herod was dead, behold,
an angel of the Lord appeareth
in a dream
Arise, and take the young child
and his mother,
and go into the land of Israel:
for they are dead
which sought the young child’s life.
21 And he arose,
and took the young child and his mother,
and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus
did reign in Judaea
in the room of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go thither:
being warned of God in a dream,
he turned aside
into the parts of Galilee:
23 And he came
and dwelt in a city called Nazareth:
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the prophets,
He shall be called a Nazarene.” Matthew 2:19-23
Joseph spent a lifetime (however long his life was, for we don’t know when he died, except that it appears that he wasn’t present during the public ministry of Jesus) building an example of faith, obedience, and trust in God’s leading for his life and the life of his family. He trusted God when he couldn’t really understand what was going on. He built a house of faith, not doubt! He built a heritage and so should we. In fact, we are building a heritage no matter what! Our children will follow our example more than our words. We must remember that we are building—building up or tearing down—our choices affect those around us—up or down, and we don’t always know which way it will go; but we must be vigilant to be builders who are pleasing to God.
When we live lives of faithful love, devotion, and obedience to our Lord and Savior, then our children will see our hearts lived out in our actions! While they may not always do that which pleases us, they can’t deny that we tried to lead them to the Savior! I think Joseph sets an amazing example of yieldedness to God—of total obedience in the face of worldly misunderstanding—of faith over fear—of wisdom, grace, and steadfastness regardless of his circumstances.
Let’s face it, most of us would be questioning “a barn” for a delivery room—shepherds as birthday greeters—foreigners as gift bearers—yet Joseph stood fast through trails, trials, threats, and danger. Oh, that we can learn to be so faithful. I pray that this will encourage your heart today, and may we truly remember that “JESUS” IS the reason for every season.
“O the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
are his judgments,
and his ways
past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him,
and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him,
and through him,
and to him,
are all things:
to whom be glory
for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
Amen and Amen!!!