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Joseph - Doing What Is Right...

Even When Plans Are Destroyed

 

NOTE to the instructor: A major focus should be on Joseph's character traits. These would include: 1) a desire to do what is right, and 2) a willingness to trust and obey God, regardless of the consequences.

 

A LOOK AT THE BIBLE (three basic issues in Matthew 1:18-25):

1a. What were Joseph's plans? How were they destroyed? (Note: At this time, he did not know that the Holy Spirit was involved.) [Verse 18]
1b. How could he have responded? How did he respond? (Focus on values, attitude and character.) [Verse 19]


2. Once Joseph knew that the Holy Spirit had caused this to happen, how did he respond? Consider this: If he chose to obey God, people would misunderstand. They would probably think that he - a supposedly righteous man - had either: 1) himself committed sexual immorality, or else 2) chosen to marry a woman who did... and this would not have been considered a good thing. [Verses 20, 24-25]


3a. God made some promises to Joseph. What were they? [Verse 21]
3b. It is believed by many that Joseph had died by the time Jesus had begun his ministry. (For example, he is never mentioned, even though Mary is mentioned several times.) If this is correct, then Joseph didn't live to see some of these promises fulfilled. Does this mean that God failed? Did Joseph have any reason to not trust that God would eventually keep his promise?

 

APPLICATION:

1. Have your plans ever been suddenly destroyed by circumstances beyond your control? How did you respond? What could you learn from Joseph's example?

2. Have you ever been in a situation in which you knew what you should do (God's will), and you were afraid of how people might respond? What could you learn from Joseph's example?

3. [The following question assumes that Joseph had died by the time of Jesus' ministry and that he didn't live to see the promises of verse 21 fulfilled.] Have you ever been in a situation in which it seemed that God's promises to you weren't being fulfilled? What could you learn from Joseph's example? [Example - Does God ever fail? Is there ever a circumstance in which God can't be trusted?]

 

SHARE WITH THE REST OF US:

Pick one aspect of this lesson and show the rest of us what you have learned. Your goal is to show us how we can apply these truths to our lives. Do whatever you wish, to accomplish this.

You may wish to tell us about something you have personally experienced. You may wish to illustrate with other people's experiences, or give a typical example. You may use a skit, a short talk, question and answer, visual aids, etc.

Dennis Hinks 2004

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