Summary: Joseph made the right choice with Potiphar's wife -- even though he might have gotten away with it, at least temporarily. He expressed a godly character in the midst of confusion and chaos.
1. Opportunity Revelations
In July of 2014, a bank teller pled guilty to embezzling nearly two million dollars from the State Bank of Lincoln where she worked as a head teller. She pulled off her crime by having access to the bank's vault and by changing audit numbers. Because she had worked at the bank for nearly two decades, she was trusted.
2. Compare with Joseph -- Genesis 39.1-6
Joseph, in a much shorter time, grew to be totally trusted by his master, Potiphar, a wealthy official in Egypt. In fact, Potiphar turned over so much responsibility to Joseph -- managing everything he owned -- that all he knew about his property was the food he ate every day. Joseph managed everything else. How easy in such a situation -- complete, trusted access to great wealth -- would it have been for Joseph to line his own pockets with Potiphar's goods? What the playwright Oscar Wilde said -- "I can resist anything except temptation" -- was not true of Joseph. His integrity was not changed because of his privileged position.
3. Circumstances generally don't create character, they reveal it.
4. The three most important ingredients in Christian work are integrity, integrity, integrity. Charles Colson
5. Some Character lessons for us from Joseph's life:
I. Godly Character in Chaos
A. Joseph's Dreams of Greatness (Genesis 37)
1. God promised Joseph greatness in 2 dreams -- sheaves and stars bowing to him
2. Immature response of flaunting (17 years of age)
[Do you think God presents us with challenges to see if we are ready? If not, we get more training?
B. Joseph's Realities of Life
1. Betrayal of brothers which led to slavery and Potiphar's house
2. His proper response to temptation led him to prison [unfair!]
3. Choices in our circumstances
a. Wallow in self-pity
b. Make the most of it -- Jeremiah 29.4-14
4 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
c. Maintain godly integrity and with perseverance there is victory
A woman's Bible study was reading thru the book of Malachi, when they read this: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." (3:3). This verse puzzled them and they wondered how this statement applied to the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out more about the process of refining silver, and to get back to the group at their next Bible study.
She called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him while he worked. The silversmith held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire, where the flames were the hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered -- yes, not only did he have to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on it the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.