Respond Like Joseph

I love so much about the story of Joseph, but one of my favorite parts is how quickly this man grew up. He went from a naive (or arrogant depending on how you read the text) kid who was full of dreams to the most intense session of the school of hard knocks ever! This kid is betrayed and sold into slavery by his family, is accused of sexual misconduct, thrown into prison and forgotten about, then is finally remembered and elevated in a way that no one could’ve ever predicted. Over and over again, it seemed that God had forgotten about him, yet that’s not at all what happened. The Lord was graciously with Joseph every step of the way.

Okay gents, we’re going to cover a passage in the Bible that I’m going to have to make some assumptions about so, if I’m wrong, please call me out – help me to be better!

In Genesis 39, Joesph is serving as a slave in Potiphar’s house. Now Potiphar was a big deal, he was the captain of the guard and BFF’s with Pharaoh – talk about an influential person to be serving! Joseph found favor in his master’s eyes and was put in charge of everything that Potiphar had – talk about some responsibility!

The Bible tells that Joseph was a hottie with a body (phrases like that are why there will never be a Sarah International Version of the Bible) so Mrs. Potiphar makes a move on Joseph, she flat out tells him to sleep with her. Joseph is a young man, he was probably battling some hormones and, let’s be honest, if she was married to an important government official, she was good-looking. This was a tempting situation for him. It’s not like an old hag tried to sleep with him, she was beautiful, he was in charge, and he could’ve easily rationalized sleeping with her, especially because she wouldn’t let down. Day after day after day she continued at it, trying to get him into bed.

The one fateful day, when there was no one else in the house, she persisted again. Think about all of the rationalizations he could’ve made on that day: “no one would know”, “she’s so persistent”, “she’s so beautiful”, “it would feel so good”. The list of reasons to go through with it probably racked up pretty quickly. But look how he responded:

But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. Genesis 39:12 (ESV)

Instead of giving into temptation, Joseph was obedient to God and reacted in a way that was consistent with his identity, character, and calling. Joseph was a man of integrity and lived that out even when it would’ve been easy to give in.

Now here’s a hard question: how do you respond in the face of overwhelming temptation? Do you respond obediently to God’s word? Do you do things that are consistent with your redeemed and sanctified character? Honestly, I would love to say that I respond to every temptation as well as Joseph did, but I don’t. I, unfortunately, don’t always act in a way that corresponds with my character – I will often give into the temptation, especially when it is persistent.

If you’re like me and you give into temptation, I encourage you to do as the Bible says and approach the Throne of Grace and ask for forgiveness from a loving Father. Thank God that he is ready and willing with the forgiveness and grace we so desperately need!

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