WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 23, 2021
TOPIC: JOSEPH WAS A GOOD MAN
BY T. O. BANSO
“Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly” (Matthew 1:19 New Century Version).
Suppose you were Joseph, how would you have handled a situation where you suddenly find the lady you are engaged to pregnant before you get married? It would be so painful that some men would not end the relationship quietly and leave the pregnant ladies to face their problems. But they would make so much noise. They could try to ridicule or humiliate the ladies involved.
But how did Joseph handle the matter? Matthew 1:19 says, “Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly” (New Century Version). Instead of the phrase “a good man”, the New King James Version uses “a just man.”Joseph didn’t want to humiliate or embarrass Mary and, therefore, planned to divorce or put her away secretly.
However, following the angel’s appearance to him in the dream, explaining that the pregnancy was of the Holy Ghost, Joseph took Mary as his wife. “But he did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to the son” (verse 24a New Century Version).
Indeed, Joseph was a good man. He changed his mind about divorce to align himself with the will of God concerning Mary. Joseph was a good man. He did not insist on going ahead with the divorce. Joseph was a good man; he took care of Mary who was carrying a pregnancy that was not his and despite the societal stigma associated with such a pregnancy. Joseph endured the attendant ridicule by his relations and friends. Joseph did not have sexual relations with his wife until after the birth of a baby he was not responsible for (verse 25).
He was a good man; he took the trouble to take along a heavily pregnant Mary to Bethlehem for the census. Mary fell into labour in Bethlehem and was delivered of baby Jesus. Travelling with a pregnant woman due for delivery is not easy. If the baby being expected is not one’s, it could even be more frustrating. The joy in an expectant father that could make one overlook the burden of the trouble of making arrangements for a safe delivery could be missing.
Mary was delivered of her first male child (Luke 2:6-7). But that baby was not Joseph’s baby. Joseph was a good man; he stood by Mary throughout the pregnancy up to the delivery and even beyond. Joseph was a good man, he named a baby that was not his own. “And he called His name JESUS” (Matthew 1:25b New King James Version). The New Living Translation says, “And Joseph named him Jesus.”
Later when Herod was going to kill Jesus, Joseph obeyed God’s word to carry a child that was not his to Egypt for safety (Matthew 2:13-15). It is not easy just relocating without any prior plan to do so. Such relocation sometimes causes dislocation, which could be painful. Joseph had to start life afresh in a new place just to protect a child that was not his.
Escaping with a nursing mother is not easy, especially when there is a threat of death. But Joseph was a good man. He obeyed God. Joseph left that night for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death.
Joseph was a good man; he relocated again to Nazareth carrying out the instruction of an angel in a dream, following the death of Herod. Joseph was a good man who was open to the voice of God. He was sensitive to the voice of God and didn’t consider his convenience more important than the will of God. He returned to Nazareth to start life again (Matthew 2:19-23). He was a good man.
Joseph, a carpenter, trained a child that was not his; he was a good man. He was a father figure in the life of Jesus. In Luke 2:48, Mary referred to Joseph as the father of Jesus. In Matthew 13:55, Jesus is described as a carpenter’s son.
Mary, a good lady, a virgin, made a good choice of a husband. God must have known Joseph was a good man who would do a good job. He must have trusted him that he would not mistreat Mary, whom He had chosen for the assignment of bringing Jesus into the world.
He knew Joseph would not divorce her because of the strange pregnancy. Imagine Mary going through the trauma of an unwanted pregnancy for nine months! Suppose Joseph was not there for Mary! How would she have survived the stigma, the mockery that ladies carrying rejected pregnancies go through? No father to accept responsibility, no emotional support!
Mary’s ordeal would have been enormous without somebody like Joseph who was a good man. Mary actually did not commit any immorality – and that would have made it even more painful to her – suffering for no just cause. But Joseph was a good man. Thank God for a good man like Joseph who was a good husband to a good wife and mother like Mary. What good marriage partners both were!
Unfortunately, there are men today who neglect their wives during pregnancy – women they, not the Holy Spirit, impregnated! There are also men that are so stubborn that they don’t listen to anyone, including God. If God appears to them physically, not in a dream, they might not change their minds. There are men who treat their wives as if they did them a favour by marrying them.
The women in such a marriage could be regretting and lamenting, wondering how long their suffering would continue. It’s a painful experience for these women and their children. Are you a good man? Are you a good woman?
This Christmas, husbands and wives should make their homes Bible-compliant. Though the only naturally possible explanation a human being could find for Mary’s pregnancy was sexual immorality, Joseph’s decision was not to disgrace her in public.
Whatever your spouse has done or does wrong, don’t embarrass or humiliate her in public. Love forgives sins while the guilty party should genuinely repent and seek reconciliation. There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.
Billy Graham is quoted as saying, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Walk in love (Ephesians 5:2). Be a good husband; be a good wife.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be a good spouse. Father, heal every troubled marriage; let there be love, peace, and joy. Grant the heart desire of those trusting you for husbands or wives; give them godly and God-fearing spouses. Prince of Peace, reign in their homes and give them children whose lives will honour You.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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