November 5, 2022
“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. After some time his master’s wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, ‘Sleep with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife...”
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“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. After some time his master’s wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, ‘Sleep with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, my master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority. No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such an evil and sin against God?’” Genesis 39:6b-9
Like the “tree of Knowledge” was to Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden, so was Potiphar’s wife to Joseph in Potifer’s house. (If Joseph can be considered a “Type of Messiah,” his response to temptation surely passed the test!
Joseph had everything going for him. He was handsome and brilliant. Despite difficult circumstances, he (again) rose to a position of authority. If it seemed unnatural for a 17-year-old to supervise his ten elder shepherd brothers, imagine the same youth running the household of the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt. Some guys seem destined for success, but success can have unforeseen downsides. Joseph knew this all too well.
I have been around many successful people in my career, and I generally sort them into two piles: Humble and self-absorbed. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground, and sadly, the humble variety is in very short supply. Joseph was humble, while Potiphar’s wife was utterly self-absorbed.
If there were ever a “stud,” it would have been Joseph. Perhaps, his experience with his brothers taught him to restrain his tongue. Perhaps, those early days in slavery taught him to be thankful for even the lowliest position of authority. I believe his faith in God (and his response to God’s faithfulness) gave Joseph his resolve.
Perhaps, that is the lesson of today’s passage. Joseph faithfully served Potiphar because Joseph served God. He worked as unto the Lord. On the other hand, Potiphar’s wife did not have the Lord’s moral compass. Potiphar’s wife could not honor her husband because she had no relationship with the Lord. She simply lived to serve herself. And the types of gods she served were, most likely, those whose only reason for existence was to serve her.
But we cannot escape the reality that there is only one true God, and only one salvation, found exclusively in Jesus.
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6
If we reject Jesus, the only “god” we are left to serve is the one we see looking back at us in the mirror.