Summary: Fleeing Sin is a necessity for the believer in Christ
You probably wondered what the “Detour” signs are doing in the church. You’re pretty use to them by now up here in North Portland and probably pretty sick of them as well. They are here to remind us of the struggle that each of us has in doing more than just surviving life. They help us remember that in a journey of faith can take us on some strange detours. And they are here to remind us that the path through sin is dangerous, destructive and devastating.
We think of the people we’re highlighting in this 50 Day Spiritual Adventure as spiritual heroes but they are just like us. They were men and women who were going about their lives when God used them in wonderful ways. As I look at the lives of those in the Bible the difference between them and us is that they were available and trusting. They were willing to be used by God. And they trusted that God’s plan for everything really was the best plan.
Joseph was no exception to this rule. He was the “runt” of the litter if you asked his brothers. He was the show off and the bossy one. He was the one that was always getting on his brother’s cases and one day they had enough. Sold into slavery and shipped off to Egypt, the brothers made it appear that Joseph had been mauled to death by an animal.
We don’t know how great a time verses 1-6 cover but it is apparent Joseph became a powerful and wise person in an influential household. He was still a slave and he knew it. But he was a slave who was also a steward of the trust as well as the goods of his owner. From the horror of a cistern to the glory of Egyptian might be expected to turn one’s head and to make them think that there was nothing they couldn’t do. But not Joseph.
What kept Joseph from falling prey to this woman? First of all Joseph took a good long look at himself in the mirror. He knew that giving in would doom all that had come to him. Potiphar trusted him. God had blessed him. He’d been in a cistern and now was in a palace and all of that would be tossed away for a cheap fling.
Secondly, Joseph knew God’s hand had been on him. He knew it wasn’t his ability that took him where he was. God’s design was all over the circumstances and instances in his life. What’s more if he did this it was an act of ungratefulness to God who had done all these wonderful things for him. There was no way that he was going to forget God’s goodness for the sake of this woman.
Third, Joseph ran for his life. When you’re blindsided by an attractive yet self-destructive opportunity, do the best Michael Johnson impersonation you can. Don’t stop and evaluate your options. Run! Nearly 1,500 years later Paul tells his young disciple Timothy, to “flee youthful lusts.” I like the way it is worded in the journal for early elementary children. It says simply, “stay away from bad things.”
In your journal you’re going to read about an acronym, FLEE. It is a way of escape for situations such as Joseph faced with Potiphar’s wife and it also works for other sins as well. The first step is to FEEL THE DANGER. When we come up to a road and see and a detour sign we tend to feel annoyance rather than danger. We’re bugged because we have to go “out of our way”; we have to “change our routine” in order to bypass the problem. Sometimes we don’t even see the spiritual detour signs that warn us of the sin just ahead. We just veer around them and drive off down the road and then blame God for where we are. Some of us “feel the danger” but ignore it. Others of us have become so use to sin in our life we don’t even feel any fear at all.
I want you to notice something about Joseph. He recognizes the danger that he’s in with this woman. What’s more he doesn’t tell her that it would hurt her husband, that it would be bad for their working relationship, or that it wasn’t a loving and caring relationship. He tells her that his sin would be against God. Joseph knows that the place he is in is because of God’s hand on his life. He is thankful to God for this, he loves God because of His care and he’s not willing to hurt the one he loves. I want to suggest something hard for us to swallow and that is we put up with sin in our lives and the lives of our friends simply because we don’t love Jesus enough.