Answering a High Calling
King David wanted to build a permanent house for God. By the Prophet Samuel, God promised David that through David’s offspring he would, himself, build David a permanent house:
When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
This house would be a lasting kingdom on the earth in which God would rule. God is the builder of this house. It is built upon the rock, of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, Nonetheless, faithful people would be needed to be the building blocks.
Joseph was a carpenter. He was not a rich man. He was a husband and a father. He was known in his village, but his recognition probably did not extend much beyond it. He was devout as many good Jews were in his day. He cared for his family and was faithful to following Jewish traditions and customs. He lived for a season and then he passed away. Yet Joseph had a great deal to do with the building of the permanent house of David.
Joseph was a descendant of David. He was part of a very significant chain of events. He was given a commission by God the Father to be the earthly father and guardian of His beloved Son. Not fully understanding what God was asking him, Joseph accepted this commission. He accepted it under what, for him, were difficult circumstances. Reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)
Joseph believed in God and faithfully carried out his commission.
We, too, are part of an ongoing chain of events. We, too, have been given a commission by God. We, like Joseph, are often required to make difficult choices. Faith, courage, and trust in God are required. Life will test us. There will be obstacles and distractions. We will prevail only with God’s help.
What God asks us to do has great significance. We are part of an eternal plan of God. What we do now may seem fleeting or temporary. Nonetheless, God has established a permanent Kingdom that will not pass away. Our life and ministry are very much a part of that Kingdom. What we do now is recorded in heaven. We may not understand the significance of what might seem like unimportant events, but we will when all is revealed to us. In the meantime, God needs us to be faithful. Let us take courage and follow the example of Joseph.
The psalmist wrote:
- Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing;
from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
- For I am persuaded that your love is established forever;
you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
- “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
- ‘I will establish your line forever,
and preserve your throne for all generations.'” (Psalm 89:1-4)
Joseph was an ordinary carpenter. But no one is insignificant in the eternal plan of God. Let us step into the ministry to which God has called us. One of our greatest ministries is watching over our children and bringing them up in the knowledge of the Lord. We are reminded of this injunction from the Old Testament:
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
Joseph was given the high assignment of becoming the earthly guardian of our Lord Jesus Christ. This he did faithfully.
Lord, help us to follow the faithful example of Joseph in our day. The house of God is still being built. Will we be one of those faithful building blocks and will our children who follow us?