Joseph's Wordless Song
Read: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:20-40; Matthew 2:13-15; Matthew 2:19-23; Luke
There is much to learn from the "songs of Christmas". I'm not thinking of the beautiful carols that we love; rather, I mean the Spirit-led words spoken by Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah and Simeon. The Holy Spirit gave them prophetic words and rich promises which are beautiful reminders of God's inerrant Word. Each is worthy of attention; yet, for today, what if we look into the life of Joseph? We have no words recorded for us that he spoke, but his life sings a wordless song and tells us a great deal about his relationship with the Lord.
We are introduced to Joseph in Matthew 1:18-25. At this point in the Christmas story, Mary and Joseph are betrothed. The agreement was as binding as marriage, but they had not come together. Mary still remained in the home of her parents. What a shock it must have been for Joseph to learn that Mary was pregnant. We know nothing of the conversation that surely occurred between the two of them, but the scripture is clear that Joseph a righteous man, wanted to do the right thing. He could quietly divorce Mary, protecting her reputation, but was that the right thing to do? We have none of Joseph's words, but we can see that he was not an impulsive man. He did not fly off the handle or speak and act without thinking. When he was assured by the Lord in a dream that the baby Mary carried was not the product of unfaithfulness on her part, but rather the Lord's doing, Joseph believed and acted. His life sang a song of trust and obedience. Surely there was a great deal that Joseph didn't understand, but he acted upon what he did comprehend.
When we encounter Joseph again, this time in the book of Luke, the little family is offering the sacrifice God commanded, Luke 2:13-15. This sacrifice was a way of honoring and thanking the Lord, remembering what He had done for Israel. Hundreds of years earlier, Exodus tells us the story. God's people were in bondage in Egypt. When Pharaoh would not let them go, Almighty God sent ten plagues to force Pharaoh to let the people go free. The tenth plague was the death of every firstborn male. Both animals and people died that night. No Egyptian home was spared. Yet, God made a distinction between the Children of Israel and the Egyptians. because God redeemed His own people, they were to remember His mercy and offer a sacrifice. When a firstborn son came into the world, in remembrance for what God had done, a sacrifice was given to the Lord. Joseph's bringing animals to be sacrificed to the Lord was not only another song of obedience but a song of worship, praising God for what He had done when He spared Israel's firstborn. He was honoring the Lord and remembering His faithfulness.
When we next see Joseph, the family is in a house and the wise men have just come to worship him. They have presented their gifts. We aren't certain that Joseph ever met them since the scriptures tell us that when they arrived that Mary and Jesus were the ones who were there in the house. Their visit, because it enraged Herod, ushered in the next time Joseph heard from The Lord. This time, he was warned of danger and told to act immediately Again, Joseph's song was one of obedience. By faith, he acted on God's Word and fled with his family to Egypt. Listening to the warnings that God gave kept Joseph and his family from harm. Undoubtedly, it was not easy to make that trip, but Joseph took God's directions seriously.
The last time we encounter this good man, he has taken his family to celebrate the Passover. The Law of Moses required that he go to the place that God would choose and celebrate the Passover, Deuteronomy 16:1-6. This was, once again, a time of rejoicing and remembering the goodness of God. The whole time of feasting lasted eight days, and Joseph had been there with Mary and Jesus. Yet, the happiness was interrupted, when as Mary and Joseph were on their way back to Nazareth, they discovered that Jesus wasn't anywhere to be found. The King James Version says that they were sorrowful as they looked for Jesus. The New Living Translation indicates that they frantically looked for Him. When they found their son in the temple, Mary questioned Jesus, letting Him know of not only her concern for him, but also Joseph's. Though Joseph didn't speak any words at this time, it is evident that he shared Mary's fears and love for Jesus. Joseph's faithfulness in leading his family in worship as they went to celebrate the Passover each year, along with His care for his family are more lyrics of his wordless song.
I love words, and I am thankful for any opportunity to speak about the Lord. Yet, it is good to look into Joseph's life and see how he spoke volumes without a word, especially when we have no opportunity to speak about the Lord. Can we too like Joseph, show our love for God through obedience, even when there is much we don't understand?
Can we like Joseph, remember and thank God for His faithfulness?
Can we like Joseph, take God's warnings seriously?
Can we like Joseph, deeply care about the ministry God has given us and faithfully serve Him?
Lord, Please help us sing our own wordless song.