FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 39
After the previous chapter’s story of Judah and Tamar, the narrative now goes back to the story of Joseph. We find that he was purchased from the Ishmaelites by an Egyptian authority named Potiphar. As the chapter unfolds, we find that Joseph is a good example of a believer who finds himself in a difficult situation at really no fault of his own. He is also a good example of a believer who makes the best of that difficult situation and is blessed by God in his efforts.
You may know how the story will continue. Joseph is a blessing to Potiphar and his household. Joseph will be a blessing to the prison warden. And eventually Joseph will be a blessing to the entire nation of Egypt as well as the people who lived around Egypt. As crazy as it sounds for a slave to be able to accomplish all that, it really happened. In Genesis 12:1-3, God promised Abraham that his descendents would be a blessing to other nations. This is the beginning of part of the fulfillment of that incredible promise.
If you will look at verse 5, you will see where God chose to bless Potiphar for Joseph’s sake. As a result of that Potiphar turned almost everything over to Joseph. One thing is found in verse 6 that Joseph was not put in charge of. That is what Potiphar would eat. I guess Potiphar wanted to make those important decisions. The other thing Joseph wasn’t put in charge of was Potiphar’s wife.
From the way the story reads, it appears she thought she was in charge of Joseph. And when he refused her advances and even her commands to have sex with her, she became angry. Folks in our culture would probably think it was no big deal for Joseph to have sex with her. Our culture might even expect for that to happen.
But sex outside of marriage never turns out well. There are always repercussions when people decide to engage in sex with someone other than their spouse. So Joseph refused the advances of this woman.
Self-control is an important aspect of character. The Bible says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28) When there are no walls around a city anything can get in and anything can get out. A man who has no self-control lets anything that comes along into his life and anything, even things of great value, get out of his life.
Another interesting aspect of this story is there is nothing in the Biblical record that indicates Joseph tried to defend himself even after he was falsely accused. There is something important at work here. If you think about it, Jesus didn’t try to defend Himself when he was falsely accused either. As a result, I am not sure any of us can defend ourselves.
That doesn’t mean we are defenseless. There are times that our character defends us against false accusation. That happens when people know us well enough to know we would not do what we were accused of. And there are times when others can defend us. But I am not sure we can defend ourselves.
We should make a commitment to live in such a way that our character speaks for us. And we should live in such a way that others would want to come to our defense. Character matters. Self-control is huge part of that.