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Gen. 39:1-23 - God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life? - Part 2
Last week we saw Joseph sold to the Potifar as a slave, now let’s notice now how Joseph responds in vs. 3...
Vs. 3-6 - “When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.
From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome,”
Joseph didn’t have a big bumper sticker on his chariot, he didn’t have a big gold cross around his neck, and yet he’s being a very powerful witness to this guy. And why is he being such a powerful witness to this guy, to this pagan?
The REASON Potiphar knows that God is with this young man is because of this man’s integrity, because of his loyalty and because of his diligence!
Ya see, Joseph, if he was like most of us, he’d probably have a big ole’ chip on his shoulder - we’d be cussing him out, complaining, and we’d have a horrible attitude through all of this, right? And if Joseph had that horrible attitude he probably would have died being this man’s slave. But that’s not what he did.
He responds positively to it - because Joseph has an iron understanding that GOD IS SOVEREIGN! He understood that whatever was allowed to come into his life, he fully recognized that God is in control.
If any of you have any understanding of most of the police, you know that they are no one’s fool (most of them anyway). There’s a healthy sense of criticism in them, and they know people are constantly lying to them - “Well no officer, I didn’t do that!... No, those drugs in my pocket aren’t mine, I don’t know how they got there...”
So these guys don’t believe everything. And here we have a hardened pagan police officer in charge of the protection of the Pharaoh himself, and here he is putting his absolute trust in Joseph. And I really think that speaks volumes to the character and integrity of this man’s witness.
Look at vs. 6, we’re told the man didn’t concern himself with ANYTHING but his food! Because he had absolutely given control of ALL his wealth and ALL his finances over to Joseph. So Joseph is just a tower of integrity and character here.
Now for you ladies, we see “Now Joseph was handsome and well built...” So evidently Joe was a bit of a stud. The Hebrew seems to indicate a pretty buff guy. So a good looking brother here! It's interesting because what he looked like had nothing to do with his success, we’re told over and over in the narrative that it was God who prospered him. So Potiphar has a studly dude here with a whole lot of integrity living in his house, and this then sets up a rather bizarre story picking it up in vs. 7...
Vs. 7-12 - “...and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside.
She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”
How old Joseph was at this time we’re not told, but we can get close with a little math. Ch. 41 lets us know Joseph was 30 when the Pharaoh promoted him, and we know he was 17 when he was sold into slavery. What we don’t know is how long he spent in prison. We are told in ch. 41 that it was at least 2 years. Saying all that to say this, Joseph is probably somewhere between 25-28 and that would make sense because we would imagine it would take some time to rise to this level of prominence within Potiphar's house.
So we’ve got a young man, it’s been now maybe 5-8 years since his brothers sold him. There’s no search party, and dad thinks he’s dead, so how easy would it be for a man in his position to just chuck it all? “Forget about God man, He abandoned me, no one’s coming for me, but look what MY hard work has gotten me and here’s this beautiful woman...”
But Joseph doesn’t do that! Because again, he knows God is in control, behind the scenes, orchestrating his life.
We would also assume that Mrs. Potifer here is a very attractive woman because of Egyptian royalty. Mr. Potifer was a very rich and powerful man, and rich and powerful men, of course, no matter how ugly they might be, they always had babes for wives! That’s just the way it works across all cultures. So we would assume she’s young and beautiful.
Notice in vs. 7 sin starts with the lust of the eyes,1 John 2:16. But I want us to mark how Joseph handles this temptation. He does 5 things! So here’s an object lesson in how to handle temptation.
#1. He makes his faith known! Vs. 9 - “...how then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
Not only does he recognize that all sin is against God ultimately, but what’s he doing? He’s throwing his faith out there.
Listen, one of the best things we can do in a new situation; new neighborhood, new job, new friendships, new relationships, or whatever, in order to head off temptation before it hits is to somehow make your faith known! In making your faith known you don’t have to run the dorky, in your face program, you can be very tasteful and very subtle.
“What ya doing this weekend Bobby? Well, I go to a Bible study at my buddies place on Saturday night...” If ya do that you're probably NOT going to get the invite to come to the party or bar on Saturday night.
Be up front with your faith, it might bring some antagonism, it might bring some jokes your way, but what it typically ain’t going to bring your way is temptation.
#2. Secondly, notice here that he calls a spade a spade. He calls sin, sin! Isn’t it interesting how we have this tendency in our culture to kind of water down what’s really going on? “Well, ya know, they have an open marriage between them, they both agreed to it, so it’s not REALLY sin!” Even Christians can get goofy with this stuff. “Well, ya know, I’d like to start a ministry with porn addicts, so I’ll watch some so I can get some insight into that temptation...” NO!!!! Call sin, sin!
#3. Vs. 10 - “he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.” He’s very careful not to leave himself alone with his temptation,
He’s very careful in keeping his “social distancing,” and we’re told there in vs. 10 that he’s careful not only to not listen to her, but to not BE around her as well. He’s not being stupid, but he is not allowing himself to be in a position to be compromised.
#4. Vs. 11 - “One day he went into the house to attend to his duties...” He just attends to his work. He is keeping himself busy. The old saying: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” there’s some real truth to that. Of course there are many Proverbs about idleness in the Scriptures. (Prov. 10:4; 19:15; 21:5).
Men in particular - we have a tendency to get into trouble when we don’t have anything to do, don’t we!!
#5. He considers the effect that sin would have on other people. He recognized that - “Look, if we sin, we’re not sinning in a vacuum. Your husband’s been good to me, this isn’t right by him, and if we do this thing there is no doubt going to be fallout - others are going to be affected.”
So he does the smart thing and he does what Paul tells you and I to do in 2 Tim. 2:22 - FLEE!!
Quickly here as we’ve been following Joseph as a type of Christ, notice there were 3 advances, 3 temptations upon Joseph. EVEN AS Christ was tempted how many times in the desert by satan? 3! (Luke 4:1-3). Pretty cool, hugh?
So Joseph gives us a tremendous object lesson here in the fending off of temptation! If we are able to stand steadfast against temptation, don’t think that hell is gonna give us a standing ovation. It might very well get ugly for us as it does here for Joseph picking it up in vs. 13 next week.
Stay tuned and blessings to you all.