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Gen. 39:1-23 - God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life? - Part 3

Last week we saw Joseph being tempted by Potifer’s wife and how he was responding to temptation. We continue with a bad situation getting worse...

Vs. 13-23 “ When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”

It’s interesting that Mrs. Potifer is a picture or type of Satan in this narrative here, for 3 reasons: First, three-fold temptation, secondly, she’s spewing all sorts of lies here, even as Christ calls the enemy the Father of Lies (John 8:44). And #3, she’s just a manipulator! A very subtle manipulator, even as Satan is oftentimes very successful at derailing you and I through subtle manipulation.

She said in vs. 14 to the “men of the household” who probably all have some sort of resentment for Joseph as the leader, so she says in affect to these guys: “Hey, other men who aren’t the leader because of Joseph, ya know, my husband brought this Hebrew in to mock us Egyptians.” In that one statement there’s a rally cry for these guys to stir up their resentment for their boss and she plays the race card on top of that by throwing the “Hebrew” deal in there. So, she’s manipulating others around her to rally behind her deceit which satan is also very good at concerning you and I.

Notice in vs. 17 she says to hubby - “The slave that YOU brought in here...” So she’s implicating her husband here as well.

Listen, the very best way that you can uncover the enemies attempts at derailing you is to simply recognize him. Satan is the great deceiver, which means he is only effective incognito. As soon as you recognize the enemy at work in your life you’ve unmasked him, he is exposed, and he has no power over you. Satan will lie, yes, but be on the watch for very subtle manipulation on the part of those he may be working on all around you.

As YOU grow in the Lord, and as you grow in your capacity to recognize and disarm the enemy, he’ll turn right around and work in those around you who may not be as strong in the Lord as you. Look at what he’s doing to Mrs. Potifer here. She could not get to Joseph because he is strong in the Lord, so then satan leads her in and around other people. It’s wise to know the ways of our adversary that we may render his movement in our lives ineffective.

What’s interesting to me here is Potiphar's reaction. This guys no idiot. Notice at the end of vs. 19 “He burned with anger.”But there’s no object attached to the verb here. We’re not told who he’s angry at.

Here’s what else we know. In that culture it was a capital crime for a slave to advance himself sexually upon his master’s wife. You would be put to death for that crime. Notice Potiphar doesn’t put Joseph to death, but sends him to prison, which could tell us that he recognizes his wife is up to no good here. But he’s been manipulated; she’s rallied the troops around her, so the guy’s gotta save face somehow within his known hierarchy there, so Joe goes to prison.

Behind the scenes our Sovereign God is moving pieces around the chessboard. Satan probably thought that was a clever move there, but all this time the Lord’s doing nothing more than setting up a “checkmate,” because He’s got Joe right where He wants him. So rather than getting a sentence of death, Joseph is really getting a sentence of mercy here, and he’s exactly where God wants him to bring him to that next level.

So here’s Joseph. He went from a gold chain around his neck to an iron chain around his ankle. Surely he’s going to get ticked off about this, right? Not so as we will see next time in ch. 40.

Before I close there’s one more thing I really want us to see about Joseph’s experience: that the sign of God being with us is NOT our success, and it’s not even in resisting temptation. The danger of this chapter is that we all want to emulate Joseph’s success in resisting temptation, but maybe without having to suffer similar consequences! We all want to be able to say NO to sin in the most trying circumstances. Of course, Joseph’s control is all the more striking when we remember Judah’s lack of self control under much less extremes in the chapter we covered 2 weeks ago.

Tamar didn’t have to fling herself repeatedly across Judah’s path and command him to sin. All she had to do was dress like a prostitute, sit in the right spot, and the rest would follow.

As we read this chapter, we want to know how we can be like Joseph, who was able to resist that hard temptation, when in our daily lives we often find ourselves much more easily led astray like Judah. What we miss in the process is the fact that God was NOT at work in Joseph’s life because he obeyed God and resisted temptation, and absent from Judah’s life because he gave into temptation and fell into sin!!

We tend to think that God surely must have loved Joseph because he was such a godly man, and must have been really disappointed in Judah because he was such a loser! We then transfer that thought to our own experience: “God really loves us when we obey and resist temptation, and He hates us, or at least is disappointed in us, when we sin.” Don’t we! It is indeed true that God hates sin. But if there is one lesson that is central to the Joseph story, it is that God uses things that He hates to accomplish goals that He loves!

He is not just at work in and through Joseph, but in and through Judah as well. Ultimately, the Messiah will come through the line of Judah, NOT the line of Joseph. The Lord knew exactly what would happen when He sovereignly brought both Judah and Joseph into temptation. He knew that by His grace, Joseph would remember Him and stand, and that Judah would forget Him and fall, and that He would use both of these events to accomplish His purposes.

Joseph would stand as a living, breathing example of 1 Cor. 10:13 - “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Meanwhile, Judah would stand as a living, breathing example of {#23} 2 Cor. 12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Yes, someone who sins and falls so hard can still be incorporated into the people and plan of God. In the same way, God will use your sin to humble you and make you appreciate His grace in a way that you never could if He always enabled you to stand strong in the face of fierce temptation.

Blessings to you all.


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