Summary: Genesis 39:1-23. The familiar story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife is used to teach us how to respond to temptation with godly integrity.

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GENESIS 39:1-23


I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad. To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home. Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

Those words, of course, were spoken by former President Richard Nixon in a speech given on August 8th, 1974. Perhaps we will never know whether or not President Nixon was guilty of all that he was accused of doing, but one thing is very clear from that tragic situation in American history: the President had lost his integrity. Congress did not trust him and had he not resigned he most likely would have been impeached. All integrity was lost.

Most of us have probably heard of what we now call the Great Wall of China. Many of us also recognize that this wall can be seen from space by astronauts using various visual equipment; and it can also be seen in satellite images. It is nearly 4,000 miles of actual wall and is combined with natural defense barriers such as rivers and hills to reach a length of over 5,000 miles. The wall was actually constructed in several parts beginning around the 5th century B.C.

The original reason for building the wall was for military purposes. In Ancient China, the Chinese often struggled with invaders from the north. A powerful nomadic tribe was constantly giving them trouble. So they began to build this fortress, this wall, to protect them from the northern invaders. The idea was that the wall would be impenetrable. It would be so high that no one would be able to climb over it; and so thick that no one could to break through it.

But the wall did not always do what it was intended to do. In fact by one account, the northern area of China was invaded three times in the wall’s first hundred years of existence. And not once did the barbaric tribe to the north climb over the wall or break a section of it down. How did they get in? Each time they bribed the Chinese gatekeepers, and walked right in through the gates.

The invaders did not need military might to accomplish their task. They simply needed military wit. They capitalized on the character weakness of certain gatekeepers. Now what is the character quality that was missing from those gatekeepers who allowed the enemy through the wall? It is the same quality that Richard Nixon had failed to display as President – integrity. Integrity has had many great definitions given to it. It’s been said that integrity is being the same person in private that you are in public. A more dictionary type definition would be that integrity is consistency of moral character.

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