Summary: The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife is about about moral choices and so much more! There's times when we suffer for taking a stand for what’s right and refusing to choose the path that looks attractive. But the Lord will be with us and bless us!
God in the Ebb & Flow of Life:
Temptation, Testimony & Trials
Scripture Text: Genesis 39.1-21
[Begin by using a contemporary illustration of a natural disaster/catastrophe in a distant place…]
Just because it’s hard for me to imagine how such-an-isolated-event could produce those-kinds-of-consequences, …doesn’t-mean that it didn’t happen!
Now, you might-be-wondering, “Where-in-the-world is Pastor going with this!?!” ~ Well, …I’m glad you asked! Because, the news-of-the-tsunami got me to thinking about another isolated-event that had absolutely devastating-affects on far-reaching-places. I’ll-admit, …the tsunami-waves from this-event are a different-kind-of-animal because ocean-waves aren’t stirred-up; …but-instead, …the ripples of this-event are-coursing-through the generations of time. The tsunami-event that I’m talking about happened almost at the beginning-of-time. The place was a beautiful, peaceful, wonderful-place called the Garden-of-Eden. And the tsunami-waves began when one-woman and one-man decided that they-knew-better-than-God ~ …and Eve plucked the fruit, …and Adam took a bite ~ …and every generation since that fateful-day, …every-generation has been slammed by the tsunami-wave of sin. And the affects have been devastation; …and destruction; …and heart-ache; …and heart-break; …and brokenness.
Is anybody wondering what this-has-got-to-do-with Joseph’s-story!?! ~ Well-I’ll-tell-ya: It’s got everything to do with Joseph’s story!
The last couple-of-weeks, …as we’ve taken-a-closer-look at the dynamics going-on between Joseph and his-dad, …and between Joseph and his-brothers ~ …and we’ve seen jealousy …and hatred …and resentment …and favoritism ~ …don’t ya-see that these things are nothing-other-than the ripple-affects of the tsunami-wave that began in the Garden-of-Eden?
But, the difference between the tsunami-waves that ripped-through the Pacific Ocean and the tidal-waves-of-sin that originated with Adam-and-Eve ~ …the difference-is that the tsunami-waves get smaller, weaker and less-significant, the further they stretch-out from the epic-center-event; …but, the waves-of-sin seem to continue to gain-strength as they move from one-generation to the next. Now, I’m not-necessarily-saying that things today are much-worse than they were 2,000, or-5,000, …or-even-10,000 years-ago. (Some might say that things are worse!) But, I think that we can all-agree that they’re not any-better, …and the destuctive-power of sin is not getting any-weaker! ~ Sin continues to-wreak-havoc … create-chaos …and destroy hearts-and-lives today ~ …just-as-it-has in every-generation since the day when-Adam-and-Eve plucked the forbidden-fruit from the forbidden-tree in the heart-of-paradise.
I. The Situation
Joseph was-betrayed by his own-brothers… Hated more-and-more, Resented and rejected, They wouldn’t-even say-a-kind-word to-him. And-when they had a chance, …they jumped-him, …stripped him, …tossed him in a hole-in-the-ground, …and sold him into slavery.
As Joseph was-taken down to Egypt in the caravan of spice-traders, …you have to wonder what-was-going through-his-mind. Was he thinking about the fancy-coat ~ …and beginning to realize how it caused such-hard-feelings on-the-part of his brothers?
Was he thinking-about his-dreams ~ …and was it-dawning-on-him that he could’ve-handled the whole thing in a more-tactful-way?
Was he thinking-about what those-dreams-meant ~ …and did-he-think that there’d-be no-way under-God’s-heavens that those-dreams would come true, now-that he was a salve-in-Egypt!?!
Whatever occupied Joseph’s thoughts-and-dreams, …as he was-taken to Egypt, …and began to-serve in Potiphar’s house ~ …the picture-that-we-see of Joseph as he works-in-Egypt, …the picture-that-Scripture-paints is that Joseph is admirable and mature. There’s a quality to his life that is remarkable… And-it’s-more than-just that he was a hard-worker; …but it’s a quality that extends to his-core-convictions. For, he acts with honor and integrity. He is committed to his master; …he is wise in his decisions; …he guards his integrity ~ even in the fire-of-temptations.
Joseph is a remarkable young-man. It’s a far-cry from the tattle-taler that we first met in chapter 37. It’s a far-cry from the spoiled-favorite that touted his fancy, rainbow-colored-coat while his brothers slept-with-the-sheep in the fields of Canaan. But-again, …it’s more-than-just that Joseph has grown-up. There’s-something-about-his character that has been grasped by God ~ …and now he’s in a different-place than-he-was under daddy’s-wing.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how much time passed from-when he was taken down-into-Egypt, …to-when he was promoted to-be the chief-servant in Potiphar’s house. It was probably several years. And-over the course-of-that-time, …Joseph served-his-master, …learned the language, …learned the customs, …and handled-himself, …and handled his-responsibilities so-well that Potiphar eventually put-him-in-charge of everything.
A general-rule-of-thumb in-life is this: …with added-responsibilities and added-prestige come added-temptations! And this is certainly-the-case with Joseph’s promotion. He’s not-just shoveling-manure out of the stables, …or washing dishes in the kitchen. Now, he has authority over-all the other-servants; …he has access to all-parts of the house; …and he is free to move throughout, at-will. And-all-this, apparently, put him in-the-sights of a temptress.
If Joseph were on his hands-and-knees (scrubbing-the-floor), …she would-have overlooked-him; …if he was in the stable, up-to-his-knees in stink, …she would-have avoided-him. But, because he is in-charge, …because he circulates throughout the household, …because his-path crosses hers, …she notices him, …and she is enticed, …and she tries to entice him!
After repeated advances (on-her-part), …and repeated refusals (on-his-part), …finally-comes-the-day when she catches him-alone. And, …as-so-often-happens, …temptation grabbed-him, …grabbed-him and pulled-him-close, …pulled-him-close and wouldn’t-let-go!