At the beginning of a new year, it is likely that many start their Bible-reading plans with Genesis. We first hear of Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, in chapter 35 and continuing through his death in chapter 50. Then in Matthew, first book of the New Testament, we learn about another Joseph, this one engaged to Mary who is soon to be the mother of Jesus.
Neither of these men was perfect. They didn't do everything exactly right, but they did enough things right that their lives serve as powerful examples to us all these years later.
Joseph, son of Jacob, taught important lessons through his actions.
1) He was diligent, hard-working, and productive. From tending his father's sheep to managing Potiphar's household, then directing the nation of Egypt through a severe food crisis, each responsibility led to a bigger, more important one. He proved himself capable in each role.
2) God didn't keep him from troubles but protected him DURING those troubles. When his brothers threw him in the well then sold him into slavery and when he was falsely accused and put into prison, he stayed the course and remained faithful to God.
3) He ran from sin when Potiphar's wife seduced him. This was a huge test for Joseph, and he passed it.
4) He used his promotions and blessings to benefit others.
5) He chose to forgive his brothers rather than to be bitter and resentful against them.
Joseph, husband of Mary, was also a remarkable man. We know far less about him, but we can draw some conclusions based on his actions.
1) He believed the message of the angel sent by God and took care of Mary rather than condemning and divorcing her. Matthew 1:24-25
2) He protected his wife and child by escaping to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod. Matthew 2:13-15
3) He worked hard at his trade to provide for his family. Matthew 13:55
4) He recognized the divine nature of his adopted Son when he saw how he captivated the great teachers in the temple in Jerusalem. Luke 2:41-52
5) The Bible describes him as "a righteous man." Matthew 1:19. That is the way every Christian man would want to be described.
I encourage you to do your own digging into the Word and thinking about these two men in the coming days.
In another somewhat unrelated thought, Steve and I have six grandsons, all with names found in the Bible -- Luke, Nathan, Seth, Samuel, Silas, and Enoch. There's not a Joseph in the bunch. But, maybe in a few years, we'll have a great-grandson by that name. It would certainly be a strong name to have in the family.