After working diligently and being elevated to the highest position in Potiphar's house, Joseph finds himself in a difficult and awkward situation with Potiphar's wife who has taken note of his "handsome form and appearance" (vs. 6). Potiphar's wife was apparently accustomed to getting what she wanted, as evidenced by her extremely bold and relentless pursuit of Joseph. But Joseph's response is impressive. After Mrs. Potiphar's initial advance, Joseph immediately rebuffs her proposition, telling her that he cannot sin against God or her husband. Joseph's words go unheeded and the advances continue--daily. Potiphar's wife then ups her pursuit to a physical level, and at this point, Joseph chooses to remove himself from the situation rather than give in to temptation.
Facing temptation, whatever that temptation may be, is part of everyday life. That being the case, Joseph's example is one we'd all do well to follow. Some of things that stood out to me about handling temptation from this account were:
- Joseph didn't entertain the invitation to sin--at all. Instead, he immediately rejected the offer.
- Joseph went beyond just saying "no" to voice the reasons for his refusal to Potiphar's wife in an effort to stop further advances. The verbalizing of his decision also served to strengthen his resolve.
- Joseph made up his mind that he was not going to sin and he stood his ground.
- When Potiphar"s wife intensified her advances, Joseph intensified his response by physically leaving the premises.
Despite Joseph's removal from his position and being put in prison, doing what he knew was right was the best decision. Yes, it came with hardship, but God was with Joseph and used his time in prison to move him another step closer to his ultimate destination as second in command to Pharaoh.
What did you see or learn about managing temptation through Joseph's example? Is there a particular temptation you’re facing today that you need to reject, or a situation from which you need to remove yourself? How does praying and reading Scripture help you resist temptation(s)? Tami
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