Joseph: 20/20 Vision (Part II)
God Will Help You Flee Temptation
Joseph’s story continues in chapter 39 after a brief interruption in chapter 38 to tell Judah’s story, which in short, reveals that he mistook his disguised daughter-in-law for a prostitute and impregnates her. Take a few minutes and read it for yourself.
The story picks up immediately after, and we learn that Joseph was purchased by a captain of the guard for Pharaoh, named Potiphar.
“The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” (Genesis 39:2)
There is no time wasted in reassuring us, the reader, that God was with Joseph. And because he was with Joseph, Joseph was successful in everything he did. Verse 3 tells us that Potiphar noticed this and it pleased him. He made Joseph his personal attendant and put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. Potipher’s household was then blessed by the Lord for Joseph’s sake. Everything was going well for Joseph despite his brother’s evil plans. But then by verse 7, trouble started to brew.
“And Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him (Joseph) lustfully. ‘Come and sleep with me,’ she demanded.” (Genesis 39:7)
A bad thing happened to Joseph and God saves him from it. Everything was going extremely well for him, he was blessed by God, in charge of everything his master owned, and now this older woman wanted to sleep with him. Sometimes when things are going so right in our lives, our guard is down and we can easily give in to temptation and sin. We think we deserve it or we’ve earned it or it’s another good thing happening for us. But Joseph had the proper perspective throughout his life. In verse 8, it says simply and beautifully, “But Joseph refused.” In verse 9 as Joseph explained why he could not sleep with her he said, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
Can you imagine being that strong against a temptation? As so often in our lives, the temptation and pull doesn’t end there for Joseph.
“She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.” (Genesis 39:10)
Here is where we can so often fail. We keep feeling the pressure of the temptation, day after day. We see that Joseph kept out of her way, he was avoiding the temptation—but, like in our lives, the temptation kept coming.
“She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, ‘Come on, sleep with me!’ Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.” (Genesis 39:12)
Have you ever physically run from temptation? I had a conversation with my best friend not too long ago and he shared about a time when temptations were hitting him hard as he was alone in his house so he got up and left the house and took a walk to get away from the television and computer. He physically fled the temptation. Joseph ran away, but Potipher’s wife was left holding his cloak. So once again, someone lied about Joseph. She told some servants that Joseph tried to rape her; when Potipher gets home, she told him the same lie.
“So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.” (Genesis 39:20)
At the beginning of the chapter everything was going well for Joseph. God had saved him and blessed him. At the end, Joseph was locked in prison over a lie. Here is often where we give up. We might say, “I thought God was with me, but I guess He’s not.” But Genesis 39 does not end at verse 20. Look at Joseph’s perspective and how God was still with him, even in prison.
“But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.” (Genesis 39:21-23)
Even though Joseph’s location had changed, he was still in the same position, with the same blessings as before. He was put in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The chapter is bookended with verses 2 and 23: “The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.” No matter what happens in our lives, let us remember that the Lord is with us. Always.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.