Garry continued looking at the life of Joseph this morning, focussing on Gen 39:6-20. Here, we see Potiphar’s wife tempting Joseph into sexual sin. As often happens with us, temptation comes in different guises, for the devil wants to stop us doing God’s will, and works to derail or disable or make our ministries ineffective. We need wisdom to stay away from every form of evil (1 Thess 5:22) and even avoid the appearance of evil, for so often we can be led astray. In church life, the enemy seeks to disrupt our relationships, using the age-old technique of divide and conquer, where opinions become more important than love, when we major on minors or take offence or give offence unnecessarily. Peter urges us to love each deeply, for love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8)
Joseph showed great maturity even at a young age in resisting this temptation. We need maturity too, not being easily distracted or misdirected. We need to be like David, willing to change when we are confronted with our sins (see 2 Sam 7:1-4). David shows us that even when we do fail, there can be hope and restoration if we repent.
Joseph was in a tricky situation as a slave, with the owner’s wife having authority over him. Nonetheless, he knew the truth and applied this to his life. He stood his ground and gave reasons for his refusal; she tried to pester him day after day, but he consistently refused. This ultimately led to imprisonment; once again, his world had collapsed not because he had done something wrong, but because he had stood for what was right. Joseph’s reputation was shattered unjustly, and it can be hard to bear when this kind of thing happens to us, but we ultimately see that God was in control, even in this apparent collapse. A partial view of our lives, such as Joseph had at this moment, is not the full picture. To be faithful, we need consistently to have faith; Joseph’s story reminds us that even when there is convincing evidence otherwise, God is still in control and will work for good in every situation. (Rom 8:28)