Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Five principles to win a victory over temptation taken from the life of Joseph

When Life is the Pits

A Study of the Life of Joseph

Sermon # 3

“Dealing With Temptation”

Genesis 39:1-20

When we left Joseph last time he had been sold into slavery by his brothers to a band of Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. In Egypt we learn that he is sold as a slave to man by the name of Potiphar.

Joseph must have realized as he journeyed that whatever lay ahead of him in Egypt was also a part of God’s plan for his life, and that God would preserve and protect him there. It is encouraging to realize that we do not have to know how God’s plan is going to work out in order to know that it is going to work out. Joseph learned two lessons, that God had a plan for his life and that plan-required faithfulness on his part. These two truths governed and influenced everything that Joseph did and everyone around him took note that there was something different about him.

This is more than a story of sexual intrigue; it is the story of the clash of two cultures or two standards of living.

Joseph represents those who belong to God, those whose lives are a reflection of His revealed truth. Potiphar’s wife on the other hand, represents those who see no higher authority than themselves, who live only for the gratification of their own desires. When we view this story from this perspective, we see that it is more than ancient drama. We see it as a drama that is still be acted out each day. As the people of God we are still called to live out the revealed truth of Gods’ word. But we still find that we are living in a culture that is not only hostile to the things of God, but is also intent on seducing the children of God to live on their level.

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. (2) The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. (3) And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. (4) So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. (5) So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. (6) Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.”

Can you imagine being Joseph? Sold as a slave by your own brothers, then living in such a way that others trust you?

Yet Joseph lived in such a way that Potiphar saw that Jehovah was the source of his success (v.3). Joseph’s life brought praise from an important officer of the king, even though he was a pagan. Has your life had that effect on the ungodly?

Today I want to share with you five principles concerning temptation drawn from the life of Joseph.

Principle One: Temptation Often Comes When You Least Expect It vv. 6b-7

“…. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. (7) And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”

Joseph was on top of the world, all his hard work had paid off and it was now that he had a responsible position that temptation came. Beware of temptation when you have experience a victory or you think you have arrived. Temptation came to King David when he was in his fifties; he had unified his kingdom, expanded his borders and brought peace to the region. It was then that he was tempted and fell.

The Hebrew has a wonderful way of telling what Potiphar’s wife did. It literally says that she “lifted up her eyes” at Joseph. The Living Bible says that she “made eyes” at him. But if he had not picked-up on what Mrs. Potiphar wanted, she made it crystal clear with her words, come “lie with me.”

Joseph could have just given in and slept with this woman. Perhaps he could have tried to justify it, because of all the bad that had happened to him. It does not matter that she was lonely or attractive or available or anything else. Wrong is always wrong no matter what.

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Sheldon Boyd

commented on Sep 6, 2006

As always John I love your stuff. I wonder if I preach your sermons better than you do? Ha Ha.

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