Being a Dad of Quiet Wisdom Earns Respect of Kids
- 2003 6 Mar
What Dads Today Can Learn From Joseph - Part 2
Quiet wisdom is a quality that allows solutions to be evident not from the spoken word, rather the absence of it. ~~ Dave, a dad.
From the front door of the family's 1950's dollhouse-style house one could look directly through the living room, past the square hallway and into, should the door be opened, the teenage son's bedroom.
One particular afternoon, having returned from another long day at work, the boy's mother stepped through the threshold of their home to see that the door was, indeed, opened...and that her son had hung a rather large poster of a voluptuous, tanned young thing on the wall directly across from the bedroom door. Meaning, anyone who walked into the front door of the house could see the slick and glossy image of the young woman who wore only a snake-skinned bikini and a pout.
Mom freaked out, pointing out every possible sin associated with the poster. The son argued back. "What's wrong with it?" he asked. "What's the big deal? It's not like every time I go to the beach I'm not seeing some girl in a bikini."
Mom fired back, "But when people walk in...THIS is the first thing they'll see!"
It was about this time that the father, a man of quiet wisdom, walked into the house. Mom, who was certain her husband would demand the immediate removal of the eyesore, turned victoriously as he stepped toward them. The son, who was equally certain his father would appreciate the finer things in life (like poster art of beautiful women), turned as well.
Dad stopped before the poster, studied it for a moment, then moved toward the door. "Well?" his wife asked before he could get into the hallway.
Turning back, Dad said, "Must have been an awfully small snake."
From within the privacy of their bedroom, Mom and Dad discussed the poster...Mom doing most of the talking. Finally, Dad said, "Honey, make a mountain out of this, and he'll keep the poster up forever just to spite us. Say nothing, and it will lose his appeal."
Dad...so quiet...so wise...was absolutely correct! Within two weeks, the poster was removed from the wall, never to be replaced.
In the days of Joseph and Mary, our young couple of the Gospel story who would parent the Savior of mankind, marriage was not only sacred it was a covenant vow. Laws had been written concerning it. Strict laws. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, [This is the correct spelling] - "Of the three great events in the family life, birth, marriage and death, marriage was regarded as the most important." 1
Unlike our modern marriages, the legal union of a man and woman began with the betrothal. (The closest thing we have to a betrothal is an engagement period...which doesn't even come close!) Rather than Joseph slipping an engagement ring worth two month's salary on Mary's finger, his father asked Mary's father if the young virgin could be his son's bride, offering a price for her, called the mohar.
When the father's had finished with this piece of business, the groom's father poured a glass of wine, which he then handed to his son. The young man then offered (or passed) the glass to his intended bride. If she accepted the cup and drank from it, she was agreeing to be his for life.
When Joseph and Mary went through this act, their parents present, they sanctified themselves to each other for their entire village to see. Afterward, Joseph returned to his father's home where he would begin to prepare a proper place for his future wife.
Mary remained with her parents, waiting for Joseph's return (which, according to custom, would happen a year later, at night, with much fanfare!). Though the two were legally bound, they were not to consummate the marriage until the "Marriage Proper" so, until that time, Mary was to remain a faithful virgin to her intended.
Being Jewish, Joseph and Mary knew the laws set forth in Deuteronomy, which state that if Joseph should find Mary to be unfaithful to him during this period of time, or that she was, in fact, not a virgin at the time of the Marriage Proper, he can have her stoned to death (Deuteronomy 24). We know how the story went. Mary heard from the angel Gabriel that she would carry the Son of God, impregnated by the Holy Spirit, and then she hurried off to visit her relative Elizabeth for three months. When she returned, she told Joseph of her pregnancy.
Any man who has ever waited patiently for the wedding night can imagine the bitter mixture of disappointment, confusion, and anger that must have overwhelmed Joseph. Yet Joseph, this man God called to rear His Son, was-as Matthew puts it-a righteous man.
Being a man of quiet wisdom-especially when it comes to being a dad-will result not only in the respect of your children, but as they grow to be dads and moms, their children. I have observed my own father and noted his quiet wisdom and while I can say I TRY to be quiet and wise, I see quiet wisdom in my brother. My husband is a man of quiet wisdom and we have raised children of quiet wisdom.
When I questioned a sampling of dads who stated their fathers had held this quality, they remarked that they, too, had attemptted to be men of quiet wisdom Righteous men. And what does it mean to be righteous?
The word used in Matthew's gospel is "dikaios" (pronounced dik'-ah-yos). According to The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, it is used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life (see Strong's Number 1342).
Joseph was well aware of his rights to have Mary stoned, but he also had the right to "quietly divorce her." (Matthew 1:19) Matthew also tells us a little more about Joseph's character when he states that it was not his own humiliation he wanted spared, but Mary's.
It would take a man of quiet wisdom to follow the path that God would lay ahead for the "holy family," and Joseph quite obviously fit the bill perfectly. Over the next few years he would, by the angel's commission, take Mary home to be his wife, but not "lie" with her until after the birth of Jesus, which would take place away from home, in Bethlehem.
He would then, by the angel's warning, take his little family to Egypt to live in order to keep them safe. On that return trip, he would hear that the wicked Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod (Matthew 2:22b), so rather than return there, he took his family to Nazareth where he and Mary and their children would live a quiet existence for the next approximate 28 years.
Joseph was a righteous man.
But how does one acquire righteous attitudes? Are fathers born with them? Can dads buy them at the cigar store when they're picking up the "It's a Boy!" or "It's a Girl!" smokes?
Righteousness is found in following the truths of God with a whole heart. When a man follows God with his heart, adhering to the teachings of Jesus and yielding to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, he will become wise indeed. Do a word study of the word "wisdom" in the Bible and you will find that (among many other things) it:
1. is from God (1 Kings 4:29, Proverbs 2:6)
2. is akin to understanding (Ex. 35:31, Deut. 4:6, Proverbs 2:6, etc.)
3. is valuable (Job 28:18, Proverbs 4:7,12)
4. can be acquired (Job 33:33)
5. dwells in the heart (Psalm 90:12, Proverbs 2:2)
6. begins with the fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10)
7. will save you from evil (Proverbs 2:12)
8. comes out of the mouth of a righteous man (Proverbs 10:31)
9. gives patience (Proverbs 19:11)
10. is proved right by all her children. (Luke 7:35)
So what have we learned from Joseph's example thus far?
* Coming from good stock begins with you.
* Being a man of quiet wisdom is showing your children (and eventually their children, as your actions will be passed on...) the ways of God.
1 The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia 1939. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI.), Volume III, pg. 1997.
Eva Marie Everson is the author of Shadow of Dreams & Summon the Shadows and an award-winning national speaker. She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at Bridegroomsbride@aol.com or you can go to www.evamarieeverson.com
Click here to read Part One of What Dads Today Can Learn from Joseph.