Very little is said in Scriptures about Joseph the carpenter, the foster father of Jesus. But, from the few facts we can gather, we find a man who can be an exemplar of good parenting, particularly that of a father. Here are some points to consider:
1. He was faithful to the law.
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law… (Matthew 1:19).
In other translations it’s stated as he was righteous; in essence he sought to follow both human and divine laws. In seeking to follow divine laws, this meant he sought to follow the hundreds of ordinances of good moral conduct and of worship, plus being fair to his fellowmen. Thus, we can say that Joseph was conscientious, meaning he was careful in all that he did; or he was mindful of God and his words and actions before God. And, because he was faithful to the law, this meant he sought forgiveness when he sinned. He sought to always reconcile himself to whoever he offended whether it be God or man.
2. He was honorable.
…and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19).
One of the rights a husband had during those days was to come before the Sanhedrin and bring a charge of adultery against his wife. Joseph was honorable because he chose the higher law of compassion and mercy — he didn’t want Mary to be disgraced in public and even possibly be stoned for adultery. We have laws in the land, but many times the higher law of God must dictate on our conscience.
For example, during WWII when the Nazis rose to power in Germany, the Chancellor Adolf Hitler issued an edict to arrest Jews and bring them to concentration camps where they were experimented on and eventually killed. But there were a few Germans who chose to defy that edict and instead hid Jews or helped them escape at the risk of their own lives. They chose a higher law.
So did Joseph.
3. He was sensitive to God’s voice.
But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).
An angel never does anything out of his own will, but is always instructed by God. Thus, an angel’s voice is God’s voice. Joseph could have ignored or not even heard the angel. He could have been preoccupied by the thought that his wife was pregnant not by him.
Many times our problems can overwhelm us so that we may no longer be hearing what God might be saying to us. What if Joseph disregarded the warning of the angel? It would have been disastrous, to say the least, and fatal for the child Jesus.
God may no longer speak to us audibly or through an angel, but he can speak through Scriptures. To heed Scriptures is to heed the voice of God.
It can be safely concluded that Joseph sought to live a Godly life. The fact alone that God chose him to be the foster father of Jesus already reveals this. Godliness is for everyone. Yet, if it begins with fatherhood, then he becomes an example for the family to follow.
Godliness is the right foundation upon which to build a family.