Doing What is Right

Doing What is Right
April 10, 2019

The last major section in the book of Genesis covers the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob. You will remember that Joseph was favored by Jacob, and this caused severe sibling rivalry. Joseph was also given dreams by God, and he taunted his brothers, and even his parents, about the dreams. So, the brothers, out of hatred for Joseph, threw him into a pit intending to kill him at some later point. Eventually, they decided to sell him into slavery instead, and he finally ends up in the house of the Egyptian named Potiphar. The narrative picks up here in Genesis 39.

Gen 39:2 tells us that, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” We are told that Joseph was overwhelmingly blessed by God, everything he did was successful, and Potiphar’s family and dealings were even blessed by association. The end of verse six gives us a detail that sets up the next scene. We are told that Joseph was a handsome young man.

Potiphar’s wife grows to desire Joseph. She wants physical intimacy with him and tempts him day after day. Joseph’s behavior is commendable throughout this narrative. One of the first questions he asks is, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” This is a question we should ask ourselves when faced with temptations to sin.

We live in a time when the sexual revolution is raging, and the society is saying things like, “Do whatever you want. It’s your life. Whatever makes you happy. What you do with your body is up to you. There is no higher authority for your moral life than yourself.” These statements, of course, are lies from the evil one. When Joseph was all alone with this person, when no one was watching, when she was throwing herself at him, he still stands resolved that it would be a great wickedness and a sin against God that he will not commit. How exemplary! We do not have to give in to selfish, sinful desires! Meditate on Joseph’s life-story for yourself and teach it to your kids and grandkids.

Later in the narrative of Genesis 39, the woman ramps up her pursuits to another level and tries to take Joseph to bed by force. When the whole world would have said things such as, “Well, what’s a man to do? No one would blame him for going to bed with her. She gave him no option. . .” Joseph does what is right in God’s eyes and flees from evil. And, before you think that just because you are moral and do what is right that things will always go well for you, we are told that the woman framed Joseph with his garment that she stole from him and claimed that he tried to take advantage of her! Joseph cannot catch a break! He suffered for doing what was right. Yet, even in prison, we learn that the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy. Let us also do what is right despite the consequences so that our consciences may be clear, so that we may glorify God in a crooked generation, and so that we might find favor in the eyes of God no matter what others may think.