(6)A Good Man Has Self-Control
Except you close your eyes and imagine certain stories in the Bible, you will not fully appreciate the situation.
Let’s imagine the scenario:
Joseph and Mary were betrothed to each other, right? Therefore, they would have been growing in their familiarity and fondness towards each other. Joseph – like any normal, red-blooded male – would have been fantasizing about the wedding night.
Then, Mary gets pregnant.
Then, he marries her.
Then, he has to wait.
Now, it’s not like today where a couple lives in a duplex – and the husband decides to sleep upstairs and the wife downstairs. No. They were in the same bungalow (just allow me) and, most probably, sharing a bedroom together.
So, before the pregnancy started showing:
-He saw her beautifully dressed when going out for an event.
-He saw her half-dressed and partially clothed around the house on certain occasions.
-He saw her when she had just taken her bath and stepped out of the bathroom with wet clothes.
He saw her everyday…
…yet, he didn’t touch her – even though she was legally his wife.
Then the pregnancy begins to show and, as is the case with most pregnant women, Mary begins to gets more voluptuous and starts to add more flesh in certain areas of her body. Joseph stays with her, in the same house, throughout the nine month period, “…and…did not know her.” (Matthew 1:25)
Even after she gave birth – with the whole census/manger/Herod situation – he couldn’t sleep with her immediately. He would still have had to wait a few more months – until Mary was ready, physically, mentally and emotionally for sexual intimacy.
I honestly believe Joseph is under-rated, ‘under-taught’ about and ‘under-spoken’ of. As I said in my first post in this series, you need to re-read Matthew 1:19-2:23 with fresh eyes. Joseph was phenomenal – and he taught us something important:
A Good Man Will Wait For You.
Even if one argues that it was God who kept him from sleeping with Mary, Joseph’s life shows that a good man will receive grace for self-control – and wait for the perfect timing.
(7)A Good Man Is Able To Lead Those Under Him
It is very interesting to note how the angel didn’t appear to Mary again. Remember, she was the carrier of the Messiah. Rather, the Lord began to appear to Joseph, her husband. The angel actually told him: “She will bring forth a son, but you will call his name Jesus”. (Paraphrase mine.)
God is a God of headship and order. It is only on rare occasions (usually caused by insensitivity, sin or passivity) that He bypasses leadership and leads through another person.
A good man should be able to get directions from God about the path the family should take – and lead you in that direction.
(8) A Good Man Exhibits Maturity
Joseph was very mature – emotionally, spiritually, mentally. Why do I say that?
(i)When Mary told him she was pregnant, he didn’t embarrass her or advertise his seeming ‘betrayal’ for sympathizers to support him.
(ii)The Bible says that: ‘…he thought on these things…’ (Matthew 1:20). He didn’t just react. He did not take crucial decisions emotionally or hastily. He took his time to process – and it was in that period he received divine revelation.
(iii)He proved he could be trusted to handle spiritual revelations.
(9) A Good Man Protects The Destinies Of Those Under Him
Joseph didn’t just protect Mary’s reputation. He, also, physically protected Mary and the baby.
When the angel told him to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill the child (Matthew 2:13), he didn’t “plan to leave at dawn” and sleep till morning. That same night, he took his family and left for Egypt – despite the inconvenience and sleep deprivation. He understood his family’s protection was his responsibility.
But even more than the physical, Joseph also protected their destinies. If he had delayed – except for the plan of God – Jesus might have been killed.
And now, this is the part that blew me away:
Matthew 2:19-23 records that after Herod died, an angel instructed Joseph to go back to Israel, and they did. But because of fear of the new king, Joseph did not want to go further into the land. He was then ‘…given more instructions in a dream…’ (vs 22-23, GNB) and so, he turned into Galilee and settled in a city called Nazareth…
…so that what the prophets had said came true.
Without him being aware, Joseph’s obedience – one step at a time – led to the fulfilment of prophecy that had been given thousands of years earlier.
No wonder God selected him to be Jesus’ father on earth.
No wonder, with all the kings and princes on the earth, he – a mere carpenter – had the priviledge of having the Son of God bear his surname.
A good man will protect you, your reputation, your body – and your destiny.