Jesus is Greater Than Sensuality – Genesis 39
Have you ever created trouble for yourself because you did the right thing? Have you been penalized because you stood on your Christian principles and refused to give in to sin and temptation? Such was the life of the patriarch Joseph. Born into wealth, one might think the 11th son of Jacob could have expected to live an easy life. Because he was his father’s favorite, his jealous brothers sold him into slavery and he eventually found himself in Egypt as the servant of Potiphar, one of the king’s important officers and captain of the palace guard. Potiphar was impressed with Joseph and saw potential in him making him manager of his household and of all his personal affairs. But then, more trouble struck. Potiphar’s wife, who was physically attracted to Joseph, tried to seduce him. Joseph refused her advances. He respected Potiphar and didn’t want to violate the confidence Potiphar had in him. More importantly, he didn’t want to sin against God. Joseph was in a bind and he didn’t know what to do. He panicked and ran away. That made Potiphar’s wife angry and she claimed he had raped her. He was arrested and thrown into prison. It was a ‘no win’ situation if there ever was one.
Because human nature hasn’t changed in the past six thousand years, this story speaks to us as we try to live as Christians. The fact is that we are not always rewarded for doing right. Joseph did right and was lied against and cast into prison. It takes courage to stand on principle when we know that it would be easier to take the path of least resistance. May God give us the strength to make decisions calculated not on the basis of how difficult or easy it is to do right, but on what He wants us to do.
As our country becomes less Christian and more secular, we may find that when we do our best to please God, we do not receive the applause or acceptance of the general public. We may know Christians who have lost their jobs simply because they did the right thing. As you and I face the challenges of life, let us remember Joseph who had the courage and commitment to make Godly decisions, no matter what consequences might follow.
Genesis 39 does not end with Joseph languishing in prison. God had big plans for him and He blessed him. Two chapters later he impressed the King and was released from prison. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as well for us when we do the right thing – as we measure success in this life. But our goal is to serve God and we can take pleasure in doing that.