Summary: Joseph is young and good looking, yet he overcame a serious sexual temptation. We can develop our strategy for victory by examining Joseph's response.
When I first studied Genesis 39 and the story of Joseph and Potophar’s wife, I thought initially that I would “tone down” the sexual content of this chapter. The story provided in this passage details Joseph’s vivid encounter with a seductive woman, and his victory as he literally runs out of her arms. I thought that perhaps I would preach on “victory over temptation” and generalize the principles found in this chapter that provided victory for Joseph, compared to the failure of Judah in the previous chapter. But generalizing this chapter is not the right thing to do.
God has given us a text that deals directly, openly and vividly with the one temptation that has destroyed more lives than any other. We are tempted to “down play” the reality of sexual temptation because of sensitivity to our audience. Frankly, it is very difficult to address the subject. As a pastor, I worry about crossing the line of appropriate discussion. All the while, there are men and women in every congregation facing daily sexual temptation. Some are healing from the wounds caused by a husband or wife’s sexual sin. Others are trapped in a loveless marriage due to the sexual misbehavior of a spouse. Still other in large number are tempted by pornography and its easy availability through the internet.
When sexual sin tempts us, we do not see the dangerous consequences that come with it. Solomon warns his son that giving in to the seducer will cost him his life. "With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. " "All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose " "till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life." Proverbs 7:21–23
We can LEARN from the life of JOSEPH, whose story is in direct contradiction to JUDAH.
Genesis 38 describes JUDAH’S FAILURE when was seduced by his disguised daughter-in-lar, Tamar.
Genesis 39 give the story of JOSEPH’S INTEGRITY when he was seduced by his bosses wife.
This sermon will examine the following:
JOSEPH’S CIRCUMSTANCES - FIVE SEDUCTIONS THAT RUIN LIVES, and
JOSEPH’S VICTORY - SIX SAFEGUARDS THAT SAVE LIVES
Let’s examine the circumstances of Joseph’s encounter with Potophar’s wife. His experience represents for us five common sources of temptation that make us prime for sin. The awesome thing is that Joseph faced all of these common temptations and walked away with victory! If we want to have victory, we should study Joseph’s strategy and make every effort to respond to temptation in the same way that he did.
I. JOSEPH’S CIRCUMSTANCES - FIVE SEDUCTIONS THAT RUIN LIVES
1. The Seduction of SUCCESS
The seduction from Potophar’s wife came at a time when Joseph’s life had turned from tragedy to success. After being hated by his brothers, he is not top dog in a large and important household. Success is often the ruin of an individual. We can easily let down our guard and believe that our success entitles us to enjoy certain privileges that were formerly forbidden. I call this The Seduction of SUCCESS.
Cindy Adam’s is attributed with saying, “Success has made failures of many men.” (www.quotegarden.com)
The book of Proverbs draws this truth out in the following passages:
Proverbs 11:2 "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."
Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 18:12 "Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor."
Proverbs 29:23 "A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor."
In the story of JOSEPH, Joseph quickly rises to power. He is put in charge of Potiphar’s household. Potophar is blessed on account of Joseph. The details are explained in Genesis 39:2–6. Notice the words, “blessing” and “success” in this passage. "The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome,"
Theme of SUCCESS continues in Genesis 39:23 "The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did."