What sort of earthly father pleases the Heavenly Father? I might recommend the one chosen by God to parent Jesus Christ.
Joseph, who was engaged to Marry, was shocked to learn that she was with child. He was even more blown away to learn that his precious bride-to-be was impregnated through the supernatural and mysterious power of God. Her story would have appeared sad or laughable, and certainly unbelievable, had it not been for the divine visit granted Joseph by an angel. Ultimately, both showed incredible faith, and as a team they sought to worship the Heavenly Father by parenting his Beloved Son.
And from the testimony of Scripture, Joseph is an exemplary man of God. He is the man’s man, the type of husband every woman desires, the father every child deserves, and the minister every member needs. When the Heavenly Father chooses an earthy father to teach his human son and raise him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; when one is chosen to be an example of the believer in word and deed; when an earthly father is selected to increase the young lad in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man, Joseph is that man.
I. Joseph was a man of declared righteousness. He was a descendent of sinful Adam and a recipient of Original Sin. He fell short of the glory of God and was totally depraved. His own deeds were seen as filthy rags because he did not love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. But, he was not a self-righteous legalist who hoped his good deeds might somehow outweigh his evil deeds and merit pardon from the Divine Judge. He was one schooled in the sacred religion — Hebrew Scriptures and Ceremonies — and he was one who understood how God graciously forgave past, present and future sin due to the sacrificial atonement of a substitute. Joseph was one who trusted in the righteousness of another and was declared righteous by his faith.
II. Joseph was a man of displayed righteousness. He proved his saving faith through his sanctified works. His repentance was validated through his spiritual fruit. He was like Abel who offered acceptable sacrifices to God and was commended as righteous. (Hebrews 11:4) He was like Noah whom God called a righteous man, blameless in his generation, and one who walked with God. (Genesis 6:9, 7:1) He was like Job whom God described as second-to-none; he was one who feared God, was blameless and upright. (Job 1:1; 2:3) He was like Lot whom God called righteous; he was one who lamented over the wickedness of his generation. (2 Peter 2:6-9) And he was like David who lauded loudly his righteous and blameless:
2 Samuel 22:21–24 “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.
Joseph was like Daniel who said, “My God sent his angel and shut the lion’s mouths … because I was found blameless before him ….” (Dan. 6:22) He was like Zechariah and Elizabeth who were considered righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. (Luke 1:5-6) He was like Simeon who was also described as righteous, devout, and a man filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 2:25) Like John the Baptist and Joseph of Arimathea, Joseph was a good, righteous and holy man. (Mark 6:19-20; Luke 23:50)
Some may be asking, how do we know that Joseph was righteous before God? We know because Scripture tells us so in Matthew 1:19. But we also know because the righteousness declared upon Joseph was displayed through him.
Joseph displayed his righteousness through his selection of Mary. She was exemplary in her chastity, exemplary in her knowledge of Scripture, exemplary in her submission to the will of God, and she was the sort of godly woman desired, selected and pursued.
Joseph displayed his righteousness through his staying with Mary. He was willing to set aside his doubts, personal preferences, and reputation. He loved God and his wife and proved it through his actions.
Later, Joseph showed his righteousness in his submission to Caesar. When required to go to Bethlehem and “pay his fair share” to a pagan political system, he obeyed God and man. He gave to Caesar that which was Caesar’s.
He continued to show his righteousness by naming his son according to the revealed will of God. Normally, fathers were granted the privilege of choosing the name, but passed on this right in deference to the will of the Heavenly Father. His son was named “Jesus” which meant “Jehovah is Salvation.” Joseph was serious about the proper worship of his family.
Joseph also displayed his righteousness through his family worship. He gave his son the covenantal and sacramental sign as prescribed by God. Though being far away from home, he had Jesus circumcised in Bethlehem. This was followed by his ceremonial washing, the prescribed animal sacrifice, and his family’s appearance at the regular and required feasts. Joseph was serious about the proper worship of his family.
Therefore friends, have you been declared righteous? And additionally, have you displayed righteousness? I speak especially to husbands, fathers, and ministers, are you displaying righteousness before your family in order that they may improve and grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man? Men, is not OK for your family to regularly to miss the Lord’s House, the Lord’s Word, the Lord’s Worship, the Lord’s Table, and the Lord’s Washing. You must be serious in regards to the proper worship of your family; such is a mark of righteousness.