He certainly knew what it was like to have your plans ‘derailed’, didn’t he.
Have you ever experienced that in your life?
I know I have.
It is a natural part of life to make plans, to plot out where you want to go, what you want to do, how you want things to be.
Then, we work toward those goals.
We begin evisioning in our minds what it will be like.
We fantasize about how wonderful life will be when our plans come to fruition.
And then, out of the blue, something happens and all of our well laid plans, all of our dreams come crashing down in a moment.
Have you experienced that?
Do you know what I mean?
How do we handle this change?
How do we handle when all of our plans and dreams are derailed?
How do we go on from the train-wreck of our life?
It was interesting for me to consider Joseph in this way.
I believe Joseph would have been just like us, in making plans and having dreams.
Joseph knew what he was doing, and where he was going.
Background: Married to Mary
When reading the account of the angel appearing to Mary last week, we learned that she was betrothed to Joseph.
This was more than an engagement.
It was the first part of the marriage, when the families got together, determined the bride price to be paid, made the exchange, and agreed that the man and woman would be husband and wife.
Then, the man would go to build a home for them before she could go to live with him as his wife.
When the angel appeared to Mary, that first part of the marriage was already completed.
Joseph had returned to his home to make a place for him to live with Mary.
Once that was done, which usually took about a year, he would come to take Mary to the home to consumate the marriage.
After the angel appeared to Mary and told her she would have a child, Mary left to be with the only person who would likely believe what God was doing with her… her cousin Elizabeth who with her husband Zechariah was also miraculously pregnant.
Where was Joseph?
He was still building the home, looking forward to the day he would bring his wife to live with him.
Joseph the planner
Joseph was a carpenter by trade.
He knew how to plan.
He probably drew up the house plans.
He carefully planned and prepared the site.
He got the materials together.
Now a carpenter in those days did not just work with wood.
A lot of the work was with stones.
Not little ones.
And there was no machinery to help with the lifting and placing of the stones.
So, Joseph would have also come up with the plans to build whatever he needed to get those stone walls built.
I imagine Joseph was a very detailed, and careful planner just because of his trade.
He would have been a visionary, knowing in his head what it was going to be like.
How the rooms would be laid out.
Where things would be placed, how the structue would be built to help to keep cool in the heat of the day, and warm in the cool of the night.
I am sure he had plans on how the progress would continue until that day when he go to get Mary to bring her to their newly completed home!
What a procession it would be!
Their friends and family acccompanying them, singing and dancing all the way from her home to this home he was building.
There would be the wedding feast!
A week long celebration of their marriage being completed.
Of course, that party would also require a lot of planning.
He would have to be sure to set aside plenty of food and wine so that the full celebration each day would be supplied.
Yes, I believe Joseph was like you and me.
He was a man with a plan!
He was a man on mission.
He knew what he wanted.
He worked hard.
He was building the life he wanted.
His dreams were all coming true.
Things were going so well...
But then, things changed… His plans were derailed.
Mary returned from her cousin, and she was visibly pregnant.
What had she done!?! How could she do this to him!?! What of their plans, their dreams, the home he was building for them?
What about the life, the family, the hopes and dreams they had shared?
What was he going to do?
How would he deal with this change of events?
How would he move on?
How would he react to this new set of circumstances, and the new path of life he was on, which was not of his choosing?
Let’s read the account of Joseph which is recorded for us in Matthew 1.
Let’s pray and ask the Lord to speak to us this morning about handling the Dilemma of Derailment.
Let’s ask the Lord to teach us how to handle when our plans, our dreams, come crashing down, like what happened to Joseph.
What did Joseph do?
What I want to do is consider how Joseph handled himself in this time when all of his life seemed like this huge train wreck.
How did he handle himself?
What did he do?
Why did he do it that way?
How did he get through it?
So what did he do?
He planned again.
He started to formulate a new plan.
What was his new plan?
He had in mind… that means, he devised a new plan.
That is what planners do, isn’t it?
He was doing to divorce Mary, but he was going to do it quietly.
Why was this the plan?
What made Joseph go this route when everything fell apart?
I believe the Holy Spirit shows us, in how He had Matthew record it in this verse.
Joseph’s plan followed from Joseph’s character.
The way Joseph dealt with the dilemma of the derailment followed his character.
Joseph the righteous
That expression, “was faithful to the law,” is literally the word normally translated ‘righteous’.
Joseph’s character was such that he wanted to do the right thing.
If her married her, he would be essentially saying he was guilty of not waiting to consumate the marriage once the home was finished.
His character would be mailgned.
No one would think of him as righteous anymore.
The law stated that he could divorce her.
Now, there was a portion of the law that in the case of adultery called for stoning.
However, another portion in Numbers 5:11-31 allowed for the man to let the Lord deal with the woman.
At this point in history, while the Jews were under Roman law, not many were stoned.