A few weeks ago, we began a series on temptation. Today, we will examine the story of Potiphar’s wife and Joseph and how the devil desired to sift Joseph during this time of temptation.
First, let’s do a little background of Joseph. We have to remember that Joseph had essentially been sifted by the devil his whole life. We remember that he was the favorite of his father Israel, and was given a robe of many colors to signify this (Gen. 37:3). This made his brothers very envious and jealous. Joseph then told his brothers a dream that he had and this made them not only jealous, but hateful towards Joseph (Gen. 37:5). To make a long story short, the brothers essentially kidnapped Joseph, stripped him of his robe with many colors, and sold him into slavery and he was taken down to Egypt (Gen. 37:23-33; 39:1).
Thus, Joseph had already had a pretty rough life leading up to his service to Potiphar in Egypt. But even through all this, the Lord was with him. However, the culmination of his temptation would be at Potiphar’s house in Egypt. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says happened:
And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
Genesis records that Joseph, who was faithfully entrusted to serve in Potiphar’s house, was well-favored by Potiphar and many others in Egypt. Thus, we see that the request of Potiphar’s wife in verse seven, “Lie with me…” was a deliberate attempt to get Joseph to ruin the great testimony that he had for the Lord and possibly delay or ruin his chances of fulfilling what God had for him in the future. We also see that this temptation was a deliberate appeal to Joseph’s flesh and to the lust of the eyes. The Bible says that [she] “cast her eyes upon Joseph…” as if to entice him further to lie with her.
I can imagine the strength of the temptation at this moment, but praise God, Joseph responded with the Word of God.
But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
The first thing that Joseph did to combat this exceedingly strong temptation was “he refused…” A lot of times when we become tempted, we continue to allow our flesh to dwell in the enticements and allurements of the world, and we become drawn in and we never refuse the temptation. Joseph was not willing to let one fleeting moment of temporary pleasure hold him back from God’s will for his life. He REFUSED.
Then, he alluded to the Word of God when he said “neither hath he kept back any thing from but thee, because thou art his wife…” Joseph knew it would be sin for him to lie with her, it would be adultery: she belonged to another man! Joseph made it even more plain in the next verse: “…how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Isn’t this what we need to tell the devil when he tries to tempt us? If it is sin, we need to call it out as such and cast down every imagination that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. We should never trifle with sin, we should ask ourselves like Joseph: how can I do this sin when I am a child of the living God? This is exactly the attitude we need to have when we are faced with temptation. This is the same approach the Lord Jesus took when he was tempted of the Devil.
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
I’m running out of time for writing…so expect a continuation next week!!