When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matthew 1:24 (NLT)
A teacher, author, and friend of mine, Dr. Alden Thompson, talks a lot about the unanswered questions and information that we do not have explicitly written in the Bible that may appear in the “white spaces”– between the words. He’s right. There are many unanswered questions especially about the people and their lives and their relationship with God. We see them in print like looking through knothole in a fence…just a part, not the whole picture.
Joseph has always been of great interest to me. I always felt a connection since my name was – a nickname – of his name. There is very little written about him except for this first chapter in Matthew, in chapter 2 when he is told to return the family to Nazareth, and then Luke in chapter gives the birth story and ends with Jesus’ trip to the temple at age 12. Joseph is never mentioned again and so we conclude that he died before Jesus was 30 and began His ministry. Joseph would have been maybe in his 40’s, which was average for the day.
I would think that Joseph would have many questions for God regarding the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Messiah and especially the setting for His entrance into the world. He is shown to be an honorable man who, despite the Law that said he could ‘divorce’ or break his marriage to Mary when she is pregnant before they have had a physical relationship, did not want to expose Mary to a possible stoning for adultery. He is visited in a dream and told that Mary is carrying the Messiah. I wonder how many of us would have accepted that news without question? And then the birth comes when they are far from home and family.
“Where are the midwives and temple priests and even our family?” “Why didn’t Mary go into labor before we left home where at least she would have a bed and clean linens?” “Who is going to celebrate with us?”
I, too, have many questions about the circumstances that God leads me through. “Why this way? Why not another way?” “God, are You sure You know what You are doing?”
And yet, like Joseph, I love my Lord and I trust Him because I am His child but also because – what else can I do? He has been there for me so many times and led me through the darkest of valleys. Maybe Joseph had some experiences earlier in his life and now, in that place where he really knows something – he knows that he has heard God in his dream. And so he goes against all that may seem logical and follows God.
Yes, I have many questions but my perspective changes when I remember that He is God! He is Sovereign! Jesus is alive! And He loves me!
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-4 (NLT)