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Genesis 39

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

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.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Genesis 38

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 38

Let’s face it.  There are parts of the Bible that literally sound like a soap opera.  Honestly there may be parts of the Bible that sound worse than a soap opera.  This chapter undoubtedly fits along that scale somewhere.  So, why would God see it to that this story be included?  

One reason is part of the purpose of Genesis is to record the development and history of the family of Jacob.  Remember God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.  And Jacob’s twelve sons would become the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Another aspect of this development and history particularly related to this chapter is the tribe of Judah is the royal tribe from which the Messiah (Jesus) would come. Along this line, without this crazy story included here, we would wonder who Tamar and Perez are since they are included in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:3).

Another reason this may be included in the Biblical record is to show us again the importance of good decision making and morality.  Judah left the relative moral safety of his family and went into Canaan.  There he befriended a man named Hirah and married a Canannite woman named Shua.  

As the people of God we have to be careful where we go, who we hang out with, and who we connect with.  We are called to carry the Gospel into the world.  But as we go into the world with the Gospel, we are always exposed to the things of the world.  So, how do go into the world without being enticed into the world?  How do we go into the world without getting the world in us?

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, talks about fish in the ocean in his explanation of this conundrum.  He says those fish swim around in salt water every day of their lives but they don’t become salty.  In fact, it is common to put a little salt on fish before you eat them.  Those fish are in a salt water environment but they are insulated from that salt. 

We have to be in the world sharing and caring.  But we have to be careful not to let the world in us.  We called to go into a sin environment but we are to be insulated from that sin.

There is a third reason this chapter may be in the Bible.  Perhaps it is a glorious proof and great picture of God’s grace.  God never approves of sin.  In fact, sin will always be exposed.  And sin will always carry a great price that must be paid.  But God has a remarkable history of using some of the most unlikely people to accomplish his purposes.  And God has a remarkable history of making a way for sinful folk like me to be included in His family and His plan.  And that is pretty cool.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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