Summary: Joseph provides a great example for us in how to deal with temptation. If you flirt with temptation, sooner or later, you are going to get burnt.
If you have been reading your children’s Bible Story books you might have read the story about Joseph and the coat of many colors. Joseph was a favorite of his father Jacob and because of the favoritism his 10 older brothers despised him.
But to make matters worse, Joseph also had a miraculous ability to interpret dreams and one dream he interpreted concerned his brothers, all older, bowing down and serving him. Even today that wouldn’t sit well coming from your younger brother, but that was unheard of in that culture. The oldest male always received the greatest inheritance, not the youngest. Joseph would later have a younger brother Benjamin, but at this time in their lives Joseph is the youngest, the favorite, spoiled, and appears to gladly interpret his dreams. Maybe he liked the part where they would serve him someday and said so with a bit of an air about him.
Although you may know the story of the coat of many colors what you may not know is that one day, Jacob sends his favorite out to check on his brothers and his brothers decide to get rid of him. They want to kill him but Reuben intervenes along with the providence of God. They throw Joseph in a cistern and as they sit down to eat, contemplating what they should do with this brother of theirs, a caravan of Ishmaelites loaded with goods, on their way to Egypt happens by. So they decide to sell their brother Joseph to those in the caravan. What better way to get rid of him than by making a little money in the process!
When the caravan arrives in Egypt they in turn sell Joseph as a slave to a man named Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and captain of the guard. Joseph becomes a slave in Egypt but because of his ability in administration and God’s providence, the Bible says that the Lord watched out over him.
Joseph was a gifted young man, not only with the ability to interpret dreams but he had the ability to lead others and administrate a large household financially and relationally. But because Joseph was well built, handsome and talented, that was when his troubles begin.
Joseph has long been a model of integrity, self-control, and one who handles responsibility well. Listen to what happens.
Even though for years we have considered Joseph a model of self-control, I was thinking about Joseph one night this week, and thought, maybe Joseph wasn’t as much tempted by Potiphar’s wife as he was scared of her. Maybe she was ugly. Maybe she was 400 pounds with greasy hair. Probably not, but I’m sure he was scared…but scared of the consequences more than he was of the woman. Maybe she was old, we know he was young. But this flirting situation one day goes beyond flirting.
Maybe the reason he ran was a combination of both fear and weakness. Maybe he knew he was weak and so he ran. Maybe the way Joseph dealt with temptation is the way we should deal with temptation…maybe we should fear the temptation instead of finding ourselves excited and allured by the temptation. Maybe we should run because we can admit we are weak. Maybe we should fear the consequences of God a little more.
As we think about Joseph’s plight and how he dealt with temptation, lets learn some applicable lessons we can begin to practice in our life today and lets start the New Year out right by committing today to develop strategies in our life to confront the temptation we are bound to face in 2006.
There are 5 strategies we can use to confront temptation in our lives.
5 Strategies to Confront Temptation
1. First, Beware of when you are weak and of what makes you weak.
It helps if you can understand when you are more susceptible to temptation. Most of us are more susceptible to temptation when we are weak, down, overburdened, dejected, and rejected. For me, when I am tired I am much more apt to lose self-control. Know what makes you weak and learn to recognize it when it arrives.
Joseph was weak too…he was rejected by his family, burdened with slavery, and alone in a foreign land. I wonder if Joseph, because he was so alone and so dejected, enjoyed her attention and her compliments…and maybe in a house filled with servants, he placed himself in too vulnerable of a position. Maybe, like some Joseph enjoyed being strong…he found confidence in turning down her propositions until one day…he wasn’t strong…and when she grabbed him he felt a thrill of anticipation, a surge of excitement and he felt his strength drain from him and he knew he had to run and run fast.