Men of the Bible Series - Joseph (Genesis 39)
The final eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980 was not a sudden event. For two months prior to the massive blast—the most deadly and destructive in American history—earthquakes and volcanic activity signaled a major event was underway. Authorities had plenty of time to sound the alarm and warn those living nearby of the looming danger. Yet despite the seriousness of the threat, some people chose to disregard the warnings. Probably the best known of those who refused to evacuate was Harry Randall Truman. The eighty-three year old man was the owner and caretaker at the Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake. He had survived the sinking of his troop ship by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland during World War I, and he was not about to leave just because scientists thought there was danger. Truman told reporters,“I don't have any idea whether it will blow. But I don't believe it to the point that I'm going to pack up.” On May 18, 1980, Truman and his lodge were buried beneath 150 feet of mud and debris from the volcanic eruption. His body was never found. It is foolish to recognize danger or temptation and think that we will somehow be exempt from the consequences if we linger. If we believe Scriptures warnings concerning temptation, we will surely flee. The only real protection that we have is the approach taken by Joseph when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. “…and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (Genesis 39:12).
Joseph was the eleventh of the twelve son’s son of Jacob. His other was Rachel. He was a great leader, organizer, able to interpret dreams, he did not give into temptation, but most importantly, he was faithful to God. God honored the pure and holy life of Joseph. Even though it nearly cost him his life, he still continued to do God’s will.
Although most of the time it appeared Joseph was alone or neglected, God was always right beside him. Regardless of where Joseph went, or the circumstances he found himself in, the Lord was with him, and He made him to prosper. Five times the Scriptures tell us that the Lord was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2-3, 21, 23; Acts 7:9). In Genesis 39, Joseph was severely tested in the area of moral purity.
1. Joseph’ Fix (Genesis 39:1-7)
Just when Joseph prospered and was promoted and made overseer of his master’s house, immediately, he was enticed with temptation. Immediately following Joseph’s advancement in Potiphar’s palace, he was faced with a powerful temptation (Genesis 39:7, 10, 12). Joseph did what every godly man should do when tempted by lust, that is run! In Matthew 4:1-11, Christ, when beginning His earthly ministry, was faced with a powerful temptation. Sin and temptation are both persistent and aggressive.
2. Joseph’s Fundamentals (Genesis 39:8-9)
Character played a crucial role in Joseph’s life. Joseph was a man of integrity. Rather than focusing on what he didn’t have, he rejoiced in what he did have.
3. Joseph’s Feud (Genesis 39:9)
Joseph identified the true motive of the offer from Potiphar’s wife. Joseph's reaction to temptation is also seen in the life of Christ, the perfect model, who saw these deceptive offers of Satan as temptation to sin. Satan’s goal was to cause Christ to sin. '...Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God' (Matthew 4:7). When in spiritual warfare with temptation it is always best to remember Matthew 22:37. Joseph was able to fight off the advance of Potiphar's wife because he wanted to please God more than he wanted to please himself. He called this kind of behavior sin, 'a great wickedness'. If we could learn to call our temptations by their proper name, we might avoid the fall into sin that so often takes hold of us. Satan knows our weaknesses, and will use the relationships of our life to constantly pressure us to do things against our conscience. That is why Christians must already have enough character and integrity within when the moment arises. It is much easier to avoid temptation that it is to resist it.
4. Joseph’s Flight (Genesis 39:10-12)
The moment came to a cruel confrontation when she attempted to lure him, and he ran from her, leaving his garment in her hand. During the constant pressure and temptation from which Joseph faced, he responded correctly. He ran! We are instructed to flee many things in Scripture (I Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; II Timothy 2:22). The message provides one of the great lessons of life. That is, we cannot always control life, but we can control how we respond to it. The real test of a person’s character is what one does when no one is looking. Joseph knew the reality of Proverbs 15:3.
Five Points to Ponder Concerning Temptation:
1) It is easier to avoid temptation than it is to resist temptation. Proverbs 1:10, My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
2) Temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin. Hebrews 4:15, For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
3) Temptation is not from God, but it is allowed by God. James 1:13, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
4) Temptation is Satan's attempt to lure you into sin, but he can be resisted. James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
5) Temptation is conquered by declaring your weaknesses and yielding to Christ's power within you. II Corinthians 12:9, And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
PRAYER: Father, You know the areas of my weaknesses and You know when and how I will be tempted today and in the future. Help me to take every tempting thought captive and hand it over to You before it takes a hold of me and does harm to me or to other people. I ask for Your strength and help to resist ungodly temptations and not to give in, knowing that to do is not to glorify You. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.