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An Obedient Man

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.

I Samuel 15:33b

Joseph is just a supporting actor in the story that has been told through the ages of the birth of our Messiah. Oh, but his role was so very important and he carried out his part of the story fabulously.

Joseph was a carpenter. He fell in love with a young girl named Mary and asked her to be his wife. They no doubt carefully followed the rules that were given for betrothed couples. How can I say that? Because after we meet him and after reading his story, we know that he was a thoughtful man and would not have done anything that might embarrass his fiancu00e9e.

We know very little about Joseph, but we can be sure that he was a good and exemplary man to have been chosen of God to be the foster-father of God’s own Son. He went with Mary to Bethlehem and was with her when Jesus was born (Luke 2:4,16); he was with Mary when Jesus was presented in the Temple for the rite of circumcision (Luke 2:22,33); he conducted their flight to Egypt and the return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:13,14,19-23); he took Jesus to Jerusalem at the age of twelve (Luke 2:42,43,51) and he was the head of a family of at least seven children (Matthew 13:55,56). He must have died before the crucifixion because Jesus committed the care of His mother to John (John 19:26-27).

There’s one thing about Joseph that causes us to recognize what an outstanding man he was, one thing that gives us understanding as to why God chose him, one thing that causes us to admire him, to want to emulate him, and to see him as a man with faultless integrity: He was obedient to God’s leading.

God spoke to Joseph four times and each time meant a major change in his life, an all or nothing change. First God tells Joseph that he is to go ahead with his marriage plans with Mary. I can’t marry her, Lord. She is pregnant by some other man. No man will marry her now. She has lost her innocence! She has been violated. The impression from God was still there. Well, I can marry her and divorce her quickly’she will at least have a father’s name for the child. But when God explained to Joseph that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit he immediately married her, but didn’t have sex with her until after the baby was born. Does that give you an idea of this man’s character?

Then God told him to take his family to Egypt because Herod was going to try to kill the baby. Joseph didn’t question God. No, he got up in the middle of the night as soon as he heard from God and began the long and perilous journey to Egypt. What if he had hesitated? What if he had thought this was ridiculous and decided not to go? Would the baby have been found and slain with the other children? But he did go and he did not return to his land until the Lord gave him the freedom to do so. In fact, Joseph had made his own plans about where to settle, but when God spoke to him again, he immediately changed his plans and did as God directed him.

Joseph was obedient. No matter how much trouble it would be to follow the leading of the Lord; no matter that he had to uproot his family, find shelter, find a new job in a strange land. One thing was of utmost importance. God had told him what to do and he refused to disobey God’s instructions.

How important was Joseph’s role in the greatest story every written? If Joseph had delayed carrying out any of God’s instructions God’s plan would have been aborted. Impossible! Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Has God instructed me to do something that seems absolutely ridiculous and I have been disobedient to His leading’too much time, too much work, too hard? Has He given me simple instructions and I have refused to do them because they did not suit me or would have changed my plans? Oh, to be like Joseph. Immediate obedience.

Lord, I have a deep desire to obey. I know that I have failed to do some of the things that You have explicitly told me to do in Your Word and things that I am confident You impressed me to do. I am well aware of those times when I deliberately refused to follow Your leading and I remember those times with regret. I don’t want to have more regrets, so please, Lord, speak to me and I will obey. I know, Lord, that I cannot do this in my strength, but Your indwelling strength will enable me. Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.