Read Genesis 39
Focus on verse 9-1
On the occasions in my past when I was looking for trouble, I rarely had to look far to find it. I would not describe my past as particularly colorful in this regard, as I did not often go looking for trouble…I did not have to since trouble seemed to make a sport of looking for me. Since then I have learned that one does not have to be
looking for trouble to find it.
In today’s reading we find Joseph just going about his duties, which involved attending to the needs of Potiphar’s household. Among Potiphar’s household was Potiphar’s wife who turned out to be the trouble Joseph was not looking for. It does not appear that he did anything to attract the attention of Potiphar’s wife other than being his handsome self, and doing his job well. At an opportune moment she made him an offer she thought he would not refuse, and had Joseph been any other man than he was, he might have accepted the offer.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. (v. 6-12)
Temptation just came right at him – demanding his attention – as it often does. Here is how he succeeded to resist:
- He kept God in view (v 9) “how then can I …sin against God?”
- He turned a deaf ear to the temptation (v 10) “would not listen to her”
- When she persisted (v 12) he “fled and got out of the house”
One might adopt this as a pattern for resisting temptation in three steps… Keep God first… don’t listen to the tempter… and flee from temptation. I suspect that if I were able to execute this more consistently the number of times I fail would diminish considerably.