Genesis 39 – March 29
Today’s focus will zone in on two aspects of what is taking place in the life of Joseph.
- Sexual Purity
Joseph was a young man who had experienced an unexpected and meteoric rise through the ranks of his master’s house. He had been trusted with immense responsibility. It is often when people reach these peaks of position that they fall dramatically. Joseph was presented with the opportunity to sin with Potiphar’s wife, but he did not give in to temptation. Verse 10 reveals that this was not just a one-time refusal. This woman was relentlessly throwing herself at him “day after day.” Even so, Joseph did not falter. He simply answered regarding how he could not sin against Potiphar in that way.
Potiphar’s wife decided it was time to ratchet up her tactics, and she literally and physically accosted him. Notice that Joseph did not bother to provide a verbal explanation at this point. He did not give her the chance to seduce him. Joseph just ran. There are many sins that the Bible tells us to “fight.” 1 Cor. 6:18 tells us to “flee sexual immorality.” Regarding sexual sin, Proverbs 6:27 asks the rhetorical question, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” Are there temptations that are coming your direction? Cut them off. Flee sexual immorality even at the expense of convenience, comfort, or reputation. It is worth it. Jesus promised that the pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
- False Accusations
Have you ever been falsely accused of something? There are few situations that are more deeply troubling than attempting to figure out how to defend yourself against fabricated stories. Joseph was falsely accused. Sadly, the allegation levied against him was probably believed by most people because they knew that most people in his position probably wouldn’t have been so honorable. (It is worth noting that some scholars argue that Potiphar likely doubted his wife’s account. He was fully within his legal rights to have Joseph executed, but he instead opted to have him thrown into prison. It is possible that after Potiphar’s fiery temper settled, he recognized that Joseph may have truly been innocent, so he opted for a lesser punishment.)
Regardless of how Potiphar felt about Joseph, the result was a life sentence in prison. It appears that Joseph was never provided the opportunity to give a defense. He had not legal counsel. There was no court, or judge, or jury. He had no recourse to seek justice. Even so, we see that Joseph continued to function as a faithful man, honest in all of his dealings. He was not jaded by the extreme betrayal of his family. He was not hardened by the injustice of his prison sentence. He did not grow bitter, angry, or depressed. How is that possible? Because, “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.”
If you are ever falsely accused, know that Jesus can empathize with you. He was perfect, so there was no accusation that could stick against Him. Yet, like a sheep before its shearers is silent, He opened not His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7) When He was reviled; He did not revile in return, when He suffered, He did not threaten, but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23) Jesus foretold that His people would occasionally suffer false accusations for the sake of Christ. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” When false accusations come, continue being faithful. Like Jesus and Joseph, you will be vindicated – in this life or the next.