God is Preparing Us

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So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn't worry about a thing--except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar's wife soon began to look at him lustfully. "Come and sleep with me," she demanded.
But Joseph refused. "Look," he told her, "my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God."
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. One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. 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.
When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, she called out to her servants. Soon they came running. "Look!" she said. "My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me."
She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home. Then she told him her story. "That Hebrew slave you've brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me," she said. "But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!"
Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife's story about how Joseph had treated her. So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king's prisoners were held, and there he remained. Genesis 39:6-20

When we read the story of Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39, our knee-jerk reaction is to mark her as a villain. And rightly so. She was a seductress. A temptress. She tried to lure in Joseph, a godly man.

You and I are completely capable of being just like her on our worst days. We can be the temptress, the seductress, the solicitor of sin—even to our own Christian brothers and sisters. But, take heart, for we are also capable, on our best days, of being Joseph.

Joseph worked hard to avoid the insistent invitations from Potiphar’s wife. It would have been easy to succumb to such a proposition. After all, he had been through a lot by this point in the story: thrown into a pit by his brothers and left for dead, sold into slavery to a group called the Ishmaelites, and then sold again to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. But what does he do instead? “Leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran outside” (v. 12). Escaped and ran. Those are strong words!

Sometimes we have to physically remove ourselves from the places where we are tempted. Some days, we can’t even walk near the ice cream shop. Some days, we can’t even text that guy back. And some days, we can’t even sit at the table with our gossipy friends.

Why did Joseph respond so boldly? He says his motivation in the form of a question in verse nine: “How could I do such a great evil and sin against God?”

While Potiphar’s wife seems to revel in her sinful ways, Joseph recognizes sin as rejection of the one true God. The God who was with him in the pit. The God who was with him when his brothers sold him into slavery, and the God who will be with him when he is thrown into prison as a result of the lie Potiphar’s wife tells her husband. Because Joseph loved God and knew God’s love, he was able to escape and run from evil.

We, too, can flee even the greatest temptations when we know and are transformed by the love of God. Rather than asking others to conform to our sinful desires, we can ask the Holy Spirit to conform us to the likeness of Christ. Because of Christ’s love, you and I can walk boldly as God’s dear children.

Let’s imitate Christ alone; His love, His holiness, His goodness. We will fall short, it’s true. But our God never will.

God, You never waste our time ... even the times we don't fully understand. No doubt, Joseph wondered why God would reward his obedience with prison. But God used that difficult time to prepare Joseph for his most significant assignment. Help us to be patient when you are preparing us for something amazing. Help us to trust in You! Amen.
Jun 18 2018