Summary: Joseph had everything he could possibly want just within his grasp. Potiphar’s wife could have given him the desires of his heart, but he refused. Why?
OPEN: Back in the 80’s I read about an enthusiastic but somewhat unscrupulous salesman who was waiting to see the purchasing agent of the engineering firm. The salesman was there to submit his company’s bid, or price quote, for a particular job. He couldn’t help but notice, however, that a competitor’s bid was on the purchasing agent’s desk. Unfortunately, the actual figure was covered by a can of juice. The temptation to see the amount quoted became too much, so the salesman lifted the can. His heart sank as he watched thousands of BB’s pour from the bottomless can and scatter across the floor.
Do you think he ever got business with that company again???
APPLY: That salesman wanted to be successful.
He wanted to get that contract. And so he saw an opportunity.
… all he had to do was “cheat a little bit”
… all he had to do was touch something that wasn’t his to touch
… all he had to do was (pause…) look
It was only “one look.” No one would know. No one would really get hurt (except the other salesman).
He probably thought to himself: He deserved this sale. People who play by the rules finish last. The other salesman would probably do the same – why should he be a chump? Any and every excuse probably ran through his mind.
He wanted to succeed. And all he had to do to get the sale, get ahead in his business, was compromise “just a little.”
I. Joseph had been given a dream
He was going to be a great man. Others would bow down to him. He would be important. He would be a success in life.
But then things went horribly wrong. His brothers (filled with hate because of his dreams) beat him up and sold him into slavery. He was deprived of his home, his family, his very way of life.
He’s been hauled away in chains and sold like some cow or sheep at market. And his dreams of greatness - they’ve ripped away from him much like his beautiful coat had been ripped from his body.
Now, he’s alone. A slave, owning nothing - probably not even the clothes on his back. He has nothing. He is nothing. He’s unknown, uncared for, and probably scared as he can be.
As far as he knows, he’s never going to see his father or family again.
And then… suddenly his life changes. His master notices that Joseph is a good worker. Honest, dependable, hard working. And it seems that everything Joseph touches grows and prospers
How come? Because “God is with Him” (reread vss. 2-5)
God makes him successful
God makes him prosper
AND God influences Potiphar so that Joseph is noticed and honored
Suddenly, Joseph is given responsibility and authority in all of Potiphar’s house. Every thing he touches does well, so that Potiphar has no worries at all. And everything in the house and field is left to Joseph’s care.
But Joseph’s still a slave.
Joseph’s still alone at night.
He has no family.
No girlfriends we know of.
Maybe even no close friends (it’s hard to tell)
He’s a slave – a highly honored slave – but he’s no where near having the authority God had promised in the dream.
Then along comes Potiphar’s wife. She offers affection… acceptance… comfort… love. And (had Joseph been an ambitious and cunning man) maybe she would have stood for more than that.
After all, this is an important woman, her husband is a man of influence in Pharaoh’s court. She knows people. All she’d have to do is say the right words to right people and the dreams of Joseph’s childhood could become a reality. She could open doors for him He could become a man of influence and power in Egyptian society.
All he has to do is sleep with her.
I mean, he’s a man – she’s a woman. It’s a nice arrangement.
And no one would ever know.
No one would REALLY get hurt.
She’s probably done this with any number of other slaves.
ILLUS: I read one sermon on this where the preacher speculated that the other slaves had warned Joseph to watch out for the master’s wife. She was a "pot of fire" (Potiphar… get it?)
All he has to do is touch that which is not his to touch and he could have it all:
· Maybe even influence and power
All he has to do is help God out a little – and his dreams could become a reality.
II. But Joseph turns her down
Not once… not twice… but repeatedly – day after day after day.
Why would he do that? Why would he walk away from this woman and everything she represented for him…everything he could possibly want was just within his grasp.