As a slave in Egypt, Joseph serves one of Pharoah’s officials. After God blesses Joseph’s work, he finds favor with his master Potiphar and is placed in charge of his household. When propositioned repeatedly by Potiphar’s brazen wife, Joseph remains obedient to God and refuses to sin. Despite being falsely accused of rape and put in prison, Joseph continues to prosper as God remains faithful.
39:1 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 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. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
11 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, 12 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. 13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, 14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” 16 Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. 18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.”
19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
If you’re new, we are in Genesis 39. And we’re going right through the Book of Genesis. We’ll take the summer and look at the life of Joseph. Today we are looking at Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, a married woman who wanted to commit adultery with the young, attractive Brad Pitt-ish looking Joseph. How many of you know the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife? It’s one of the great known stories of the Bible. And I have put together my own translation of the text – the Seattle International Version that I will share with you.
I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I shared it with the Nine, and they voted for it. So, that is it. It will be out of the Seattle International Version of the Bible this morning. And the Seattle International Version of the Bible reinterprets the politically incorrect parts of the Bible. So, I will read for you today out of the Seattle International Version about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife.
There was once a young man named Joseph, who worked for a very rich vice-president named Dick Potiphar. There was an evil Republican who made his money by stealing from poor people, destroying the environment, and exposing loopholes in the tax laws. Joseph worked very hard, and had much success thanks to his public school education, high self-esteem, and high doses of Ritalin, which controlled his Attention Deficit Disorder. We’re putting the fun back in fundamentalism. If this is your first time, welcome.
Dick Potiphar did not pay Joseph what he was worth because there were no minimum wage or affirmative action laws in place in Egypt. Potiphar had a wife that he did not take proper care of because he was a male chauvinist pig due to his fundamentalist Christian upbringing. Additionally, the misogynist translators of the Bible left her name out of the Scriptures entirely because of their overt patriarchal sexism. But her name is Hillary Rodham Potiphar.
They’re not doing this anywhere in America right now. She was a wonderful woman who has been wrongly maligned by modern hermeneutical interpretations of her life. Tragically, she has been painted as a whore who tried to seduce Joseph into committing adultery with her. She did ask Joseph to sleep with her, but it is not her fault. Hillary Rodham Potiphar was going through her change of life, and her hormones were out of whack because her medical provider that was run by sexist men did not cover naturopathic medicine, which would have allowed her to take natural Progesterone, which would have restored her hormone balance. She was clearly a victim of her hormones and sexist male doctors.
Even though Hillary Rodham Potiphar was much older than Joseph, he was very attracted to her because of her high self-esteem, high IQ, and vast knowledge of feminist literature. When her husband, Potiphar, found out about their love, he became very angry because he had not been doing his yoga, drank too much caffeine, and ate red meat. Fortunately, Hillary Rodham Potiphar scheduled a meeting for her and her husband to meet with a past life regression therapist, who was able to help them work out their karma.
After a few sessions, Potiphar became enlightened and open to living an alternative lifestyle as a bisexual man. So, Joseph, Dick Potiphar, and Hillary Rodham Potiphar were all married together in a sacred union performed by a transgender unitarian minister, and lived happily ever after as a loving alternative lifestyle family with a website. There you go.
I probably shouldn’t have done that, but it just seemed funny to me. I was sitting at my computer, and I was cracking myself up. My wife goes, “What are you doing?” I said, “You’ll see on Sunday. It’s hilarious.” And maybe it’s not. We’ll actually go through the Bible, and the story goes a little different. I’ll go ahead and pray cause we obviously need it. I think it was funny. Should we do it for the 5:00 too? I think it was funny. You gotta laugh a little bit, you know. I’ll go ahead and pray cause we need it. And then we’ll go through the actual Bible, which – oh, look at that. We’ll actually go through Genesis 39 as it appears, which is a little different. So, good to see you all, and if you’ve got a Bible, go to Genesis 39.
Lord, God, as we study today, I ask that we would have a good time in your Word. I pray you would send your Holy Spirit, Father, God, to convict us, lead us, guide us, instruct us – whatever it is that each of us needs. God, as we come to your Word, we come asking that we would stand under it, not over it; that we would allow it to interpret us; that we wouldn’t use it to interpret our own desires into the text.
And God, it’s our desire as we study today, that you would help our men to be like Joseph, and that you would help our ladies to learn from the tragic example of Potiphar’s wife. And so, God, I pray there’s something for each of us here today; that we give our time to you, and we invite your Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us and teach us. In Jesus’ good name we ask, amen.
Well, you’re gonna meet Joseph today. Joseph is a guy of incredible importance. The first roughly 37 chapters of Genesis cover 2,000 years of history. From that point on, we meet a man named Joseph. And then the last 12 chapters of the Bible cover his life. And so everything slows down to focus on this one man because he is of great importance to us. His story is this. His great-grandpa is Abraham. His grandfather is Isaac. His daddy is Jacob. And he is the 11th of 12 boys.
His story is this; that his father favored him, which was a sin, and God blessed him, which was grace. Because of that, his brothers became very jealous. They despised him because his life was going well. So, they put together a plot whereby they would sell him into slavery and send him away from his father. He was sold into slavery to some traveling merchants, who took him off to the nation of Egypt.
Now what you’ve got now is you’ve got a rural country boy taken off to the big city. You’ve got – as it were – a Christian boy taken off to this place where there were no Christians, no churches. The ruler there, Pharaoh, thinks he’s God. There’s a lot of demonology and false gods and religions and sin, and it’s a mess. And he’s all by himself.
And all of the sudden, his whole world changes in an instant. He’s no longer free. He’s a slave. He’s no longer with his family. He’s all by himself. He’s no longer supported by Christian community. He is alone with non-Christians exclusively. And at this point in the story, he is maybe in his late teens, early 20’s. He’s an unmarried man. And he is likely a virgin. And he goes off to the big city to work for godless people who have a completely different set of values and lifestyle. They would very much embrace the Seattle International version of the story.
And there he goes. And the question then becomes will he be a faithful man? The one doctrine that we’ve said overrides the whole life of Joseph is the doctrine of God’s providence where God works through his invisible hand of sovereignty and providence, and he orchestrates the details of Joseph’s life to fulfill his destiny and purpose that God would have for him.
The question is – is not, rather – is God faithful to Joseph? We’ve learned, and will continue to learn, that God is faithful. The question instead is is Joseph faithful to God? Will he be a man of integrity in a hostile, difficult, tempting environment, or will he be a man who is unfaithful and sins against God? And what this stresses for you and I is the responsibility for us to be obedient to God, okay.
And so the story picks up here in Genesis 39. “Now Joseph,” – he is our main character – “had been taken down to Egypt,” – this godless, wicked, demonic culture. And there, “Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials,” – a very important man. Pharaoh is the ruler of Egypt. Potiphar is his right-hand man. Joseph now, through God’ providence, is one step away from the most powerful man in that nation. He was, “the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.” So, Joseph is now a slave. He is the possession of this powerful man named Potiphar.
Now here’s the beautiful thing – verse 2. “The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered.” That’s the key. He’s away from his family. He’s away from his friends. He’s away from his fellowship, but God is still with him. God is still with him. See, you and I, we’re blessed. We have Christian friends. We have a church. We have support system around us. Imagine just literally being sold into slavery, taken into a completely foreign culture, made someone else’s property. Your family, your friends, your fellowship is altogether gone, but God is still with you.
This is the theme of Joseph’s life. It seems like he is utterly alone, but the truth is that God goes with him because God loves him as God loves you and me. And today, for those of us who are Christians, God lives in us. The New Testament says that God, the Holy Spirit, has taken up residence in us. What that means is that God is never apart from us. We are never apart from God. And that God will never leave us or forsake us or abandon us. And it doesn’t matter if we’re alone. We’re by ourselves. We’re abandoned. We have no one to support us. God is still there.
And what God does, God enables him to prosper. God blesses this young man in part because he’s a man who loves God and is faithful. He’s no sinless and perfect, but Joseph and Daniel are in my estimation, the two godliest men that we get any information about in the Old Testament. They’re guys that do love God. They’re guys who do walk with God. And so God blessed him. “The Lord was with Joseph, and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”
So, he rises up from being a common slave. Most slaves would be working out in the field. He gets brought into the house. And then he comes alongside Potiphar. And he’s going to rise up and be a very important man. What this tells us is that his character was such that over time Potiphar could increasingly come to trust him more and more.
There’s a good word for us there – for those of us who are perhaps employees. You say, “My job stinks.” Not as bad as this job. Slavery is a bad job. You say, “What do I get paid?” “Nothing.” “Can I quit?” “No.” “What if I get sick? What’s my medical?” “We whack you with a stick, and you die. That’s your medical.” You say, “Well, that’s not very good benefits package.” “Don’t complain. We’ll make it worse.”
All right, being a slave – I mean that is the worst job there is. So many of us, we go to our cubicle and we think, “You know, this is purgatory. This is an evil place. There are fluorescent lights. And there is a cubicle. And some guy who is in middle management with a clipboard and ill-fitting suit. This is obviously the work of Satan. I should not be here. I am a Christian.”
And I know your job stinks. I know your job stinks because they pay you, all right. That’s how you know it stinks. Nobody pays you to eat Cheetos or nap, right? Because you’ll do that for free. If they’re gonna give you money, it’s because they know you wouldn’t otherwise do it. So, every job, by definition, stinks. Otherwise, it would be a hobby, and they wouldn’t pay you to do it.
I know your job stinks. And I know that Joseph’s job stunk. But the point is you could still do your job well. You can work faithfully, work hard. You can work honorably, with integrity. Don’t call in sick all the time. Don’t dog on your work. Don’t steal from your boss. Don’t steal time from your boss. Don’t sit there and return all your emails on company time. Do your job.
Joseph is a guy who, though he’s not getting paid; though he is a slave; though he may never get married; may never own a house; may never make a good living; may never father children. Everything in his life now is depending on the mercy of his master. He serves faithfully and well.
And the point is this as the story rolls on. So many people want a job, but so few people want to work. Joseph is a guy that gets the worst job, but he works hard. He works smart. He works well. And because of that, he will – throughout the course of his life, on multiple occasions, continually rise up, okay. The word here for us is this. You may be in a bad job, but if you serve well, you may escalate out of that position into something much better. And it’s an issue of proving character and becoming such a valuable asset that they do trust you with more. Joseph is that kind of guy.
It says, “When his master saw that the LORD was with him,” – and here’s what’s curious. The master sees that God blesses Joseph and he honors Joseph, but he still isn’t interested in God. I think that’s kind of curious. A lot of people say like, “Oh, you got a good marriage. You’ve got good kids. You’ve got a nice family. Your life’s going well. Boy, God’s sure blessed you guys.” “Yes, he has. Would you like to know about God?” “No.” “Okie dokie, just thought I’d share.”
It’s weird how some people see that God is alive and real and good, and they still don’t want anything to do with him. Potiphar is that kind of man. “When his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.” We would call that today his executive administrative assistant. That’s what he is, okay. He is the right-hand man.
Now, there’s the Pharaoh, whose right-hand man is Potiphar. And now there’s Joseph, who is the right-hand man to Potiphar. So, he is literally one man removed from the most powerful man in that nation at the time. And he found favor. He found favor because he worked hard. He worked smart. He worked well. And I’ll tell you this. In your – for those of you that work, in your job, there is someone in leadership that is overwhelmed. They have a lot of responsibility, a lot of stress, a lot of pressure.
The reason they can’t distribute that responsibility is because there’s not a lot of people in the world that they find trustworthy. They’re afraid that these people will abuse power, steal money, rip off clients, leave, you know, take company supplies, undermine. It’s a world where trusting someone, when you’re a powerful, important person, is very dangerous. You’re exposed to much harm.
The question is then who is going to come alongside those powerful people and be trustworthy enough that those people can entrust them with very important responsibilities? The answer is that it should be God’s people. It should be God’s people. It should be us who say, “You know what? I don’t steal because I love God. And I don’t lie because I love God. And I don’t take advantage of opportunities and undermine my employer because I love God. I don’t call in sick when I’m not cause that’s a lie, and I love God.” And though Joseph is a slave, he’s a man of such integrity that Potiphar elevates him to this prestigious position of his right-hand man.
Mars Hill, it is my prayer that as we continue to grow as a church, that the reputation for us as workers and employees in this city, is such that companies would call the church and say, “We are hiring. Do you have anyone? We’re looking for honest, trustworthy people. And the last one we hired went to your church, has been a very wonderful addition to our team. Have you anyone else?”
Occasionally, we do get those calls from certain businesses. They’ll call and say, “We hired someone. They’ve been great. And we’re hiring again. Could you post the job description and encourage your people to apply?” We want to see that more. We want to see it to where when people think, “You know, we need trustworthy, dependable, honest, hardworking people of integrity. We should call the church because those Christians – they’re not hypocrites. They actually practice what they preach. And if you get one of them, you get someone who is worth their salary, and they’re worth entrusting things to.”
Joseph is that kind of guy. When you get up tomorrow, and you go to your cubicle – you’re sitting there in cubicle purgatory just cursing at the sky. Just think of Joseph – that the only way out of that place is going to be hard work and character. That’s the only way out. Not through pitching a fit, and undermining the boss, and downloading things from the internet, and wasting time playing card games. It’s not the way to go. The way to go is to operate with integrity so that God could raise you up.
Here’s what happens to Joseph. “Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.” “Here’s the key to my house. Here’s my credit cards. Here’s my bills.” How many of you know someone that you would actually trust that much? You’d give keys to your house? You’d give your debit card to? You’d give your online banking to? You’d give your wife, your kids, your family, your house, everything to them? Say, “You know what? I trust you. Manage my life. I’m really busy. I’ve got a lot going on. I need you to look after things. I trust you.”
There’s not a lot of people like this in the world. You know, I was looking at my life. I’m not as busy as Potiphar, but things are growing. The church is growing. We’ve planted a lot of churches, books, articles. This church is growing. We’re into a new building campaign. I just found out my wife’s pregnant with our fifth kid, which is great. So, it’s great. And filling up the Suburban by God’s grace, which is good. And I’m looking at my life saying, “Man, it’s wonderful. My life’s good. I’m not complaining.” But there’s so much going on. I just feel like I’m overwhelmed.
I looked at my cell phone minutes last month, and they were like 2,000 minutes on the cell phone, not to mention the office calls, the home phone, the email. You know, just insanity. Everything’s moving so quick. And so I was reading the story of Joseph thinking, “You know, I need somebody like Joseph. I need somebody I can trust. I need somebody that I can say, ‘Here’s my house keys, and you have access to my money and my family and my life. And I’m gonna trust you with everything and everyone that I love, but I need help.’”
And so we have a guy, AJ, started as a volunteer deacon years ago as a young guy, and he’s raised up, so I brought AJ along and transitioned him to be kind of like Joseph for me – to help out – because I could trust him with my family. I could trust him with my life and my finances and confidentiality and everything else. And I tell you what. The world is filled with people who have a lot of responsibility. They have a lot of things going on. And they would love to have someone that they could trust. The problem is there’s just not a lot of trustworthy people in the world. Most people are only in it for themselves, and they will leverage everything for their own gain.
What you and I should seek to be – whether it’s in our family, or in ministry, or in a volunteer organization, or in our place of employment – is the kind of person that faithfully demonstrates character so that we are trustworthy in everything because we love God and because we serve God. Because we know that even when no one else is looking, God is looking. And trust – like Jesus says – that if we’re faithful with little things, that he can raise us up to accomplish much. And so many people want to be the number one guy.
I tell you what. Most of us would just be blessed to be the number two guy with integrity and honor. Some of us are not gonna get the opportunity to do the kind of things we would unless we were humble enough to come alongside someone like Joseph is. He’s a brilliant man. He’s a good leader. He’s capable of much. But like Jesus, he is humble. And he serves Potiphar so well that Potiphar trusts him with everything. You and I should aspire to be men and women of integrity and character and consistency like that. And Joseph is a good model for us all.
“From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.” Here’s what it’s saying. His family flourished. His business flourished. His investments flourished. Everything flourished. Not because he loved God, but because Joseph loved God. And because it goes back to the Abrahamic covenant promise that God would bless his people to be a blessing to other people. That you and I need to walk into work tomorrow with this question in mind. How can I bless? How can I bless?
Most people walk into work into work just thinking, “How can I be blessed? How can they make my life easier? How can they cover my work? How can they support me? How can they benefit me?” No, we need to walk in with this posture of God has blessed me and sent me here on a mission to be a blessing so that everyone else would prosper; so that the business would prosper; so that the ministry would prosper; so that things would continue to go well. I am here to be a blessing.
People who come in with that sort of sacrificial, selfless, giving attitude are rare, okay. There are people in this room right now that want to hire. There are people in this room right now who need jobs. The people that are hiring are looking for people who are showing up on the job with integrity, character, and consistency, and the mission of being a blessing so that things would increase.
Joseph is a great example for us. So very few people get in their car on Monday morning and drive into the office with this question in mind. How can I be a blessing to this organization? So very few people think that way. Joseph understands that God is a good God who blessed him so that he then could go forth and bless others. That is our same ministry opportunity. Everything’s going great in Potiphar’s life because God is blessing him through Joseph.
And the hope would be that Potiphar would come to know something about God. Joseph isn’t preaching a lot of sermons, but Joseph is living a lot of theology. And he’s living it openly as a man of integrity before his boss. You would think things would go well, but the story takes a nefarious turn.
“So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate,” right? Guys get that. My wife’s like, “What’s that about?” Guys totally get that. You can delegate everything except dinner, and that still – you’re gonna call that, right? If they bring a turkey pot pie, and you wanted ribs, that’s a problem. You need ribs, right? And so he delegates everything to Joseph, but he says, “You know, dinner, that’s still mine. I’ll make that call. Thank you very much.” And every guy here – I think most of you guys are with me. You get that.
My wife – I shouldn’t tell you. She gets frustrated with me cause I always ask, “What’s for dinner?” And she says, “Does it matter? What do you want to have?” Because I always eat what I want. So, like – but we go out a lot too, so I don’t make her cook it, so don’t send me those emails. But how many of you guys – this has nothing to do with anything. I’m gonna totally interrupt here, but I’m hungry. How many of you guys – you’re thinking about something all day, and you gotta eat that for dinner? You just have to. It’s Biblical. It’s right there.
Now here’s the problem. Joseph was well built and handsome. Now some of you wish you were handsome or lovely. Some of you think, “I wish I was beautiful.” It’s got a downside. People want to get you naked, right? There’s benefits to being the middle aged, heavy, bald plumber, right? People – they don’t want him to get naked. Their whole goal is to keep him clothed as much as possible. But attractive people, other people want to see them naked. I am speaking from observation, not experience, of course.
He is apparently like Brad Pitt-esq. I mean he is just a good looking guy. This is the only guy in the Bible that we are told was handsome and well built. So, he is the hottest guy in the whole Bible. Thousands of years of history, many, many dudes, six pack abs. You know, chest, guns – he’s just – you know, we hate this guy, you know. And we don’t have a six pack. We have a cooler. You know, this guy’s got a six pack. And we find out the same thing about his mom back in chapter 29 verse 17 – that she was beautiful. And he is a good looking guy. Now this seems great, but it’s gonna be a source of great trouble.
“And after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!” Here’s the dilemma. This is his boss. He can’t sue for sexual harassment. He’s a slave. He can’t quit. “That’s it. I quit being a slave. I quit. I am so fed up to here with this sexual harassment. This slave thing is not working out.” You can’t quit that job. You’re a slave. You can’t quit. You’re on the horns of a dilemma.
Additionally, slaves were supposed to perform sexual favors for their owners. It was just part of the job description. And the woman looks at him and says, “You’re going to bed with me.” Now let me talk about this for a minute for you ladies. When I preached the story of Dinah – I think it was in Genesis 34. She was a young woman who was raped. She was a victim of an evil, perverted man. Women love that story. When it comes to this story, women tend to not like this story because here the woman is the pervert and evil doer. And we live in such a feminist culture that the ideology is continually put out there that men are bad, and women are good. And men are perverted, and women are victims, which is true. It’s also true that women are bad and evil and perverted too.
See, that’s where we believe in equality. We believe women are as evil as men. That’s what we believe. So, we are totally into equality. You women are evil too just like the men. And sometimes women can be as brazen and as bold and as dirty as the men. Ladies, is that true? A lot of the ladies who are married are like, “Yes, that’s why I told him to fire her.”
See, ladies know how other ladies are. Some women – ladies, let’s talk about this. Don’t raise your hand, but how many of you women love attention? All of you. How many – and don’t throw a fit because you’ll prove my point. And how many of you love to be just a little flirtacious with a man? You love to look him in the eye, flirt with him a little bit? Wicked, wicked, evil, evil, because see, women are just as foul as men. And some women are just as brazen as men. She doesn’t come up and say, “We should go out for coffee. You are gonna have sex with me.” That’s what she says, okay.
We live in a culture that the women are as brazen and as dirty as the men, just like Potiphar’s wife. There are women who dress provocatively, who flirt, who initiate, who kiss the man, who want to take him to bed, who are very, very, very aggressive in word and deed. You know how sick this culture is? I’ll tell you. I had this weird experience. It’s actually happened a few times in the history of the church. Serving communion in this church, I’ve had women put propositions in my pocket. I’m like 5’9”. I’m as hairy as a wookie. You know, I can’t imagine if I was single, in my early 20’s, and looked like Brad Pitt.
But I mean it’s so weird that – I mean I’ve had women literally walk up, put the note in my pocket. “Pastor Mark, you look very stressed out. Why don’t you come over to my house for dinner? I’ll take good care of you. Here’s my number. It could just be between you and me.” And then take communion and go back to their seat. I take the note out and hand it to my wife, you know. “Look at that. She wants you to call her.”
You know, I mean, but that’s the sick world we live in to where, you know, because we have these weird ideas like, “well, they’re both consenting adults.” But God doesn’t consent to their conduct. “Well, they have an open marriage.” Well, it’s evil though. “You know, but he was working a lot, and he was gone. And, you know, I watch Desperate Housewives, and maybe he looked just like the kid who mows the lawn.” Well, so what?
How many of you guys, this is a very real temptation? You’d be in serious trouble? Well kept, attractive, affluent, bored wife. Husband busy – gone a lot. You’re home with her all the time, and she says, “You need to go to bed with me.” How many of you guys, you’re done? It’s over? This will be the defining moment of Joseph’s life – of his manhood, and his walk with God. He is literally, as it were, at a fork in the road. “I’m gonna go to bed with her, and live a secret life of sin, or I’m not going to go to bed with her, and suffer whatever consequences may come.”
Gentlemen, it is amazing. When you were a young man, and you are faced with some sexual temptation that so much of your future depends upon the decision you make in the heat of a moment. See, Joseph doesn’t know the providential plan of God. At this point, he’s away from his mom and dad. No accountability. No friends. No church. Nobody’s looking. He may never get married. He may never be with a woman. He’s a virgin. She’s aggressive. What could be easier? What could be more easy to convince yourself that this is perfectly acceptable?
The husband’s negligent. I’m a slave obeying orders. What could be more picturesque for a profoundly logical excuse? Hey, guys, let me tell you this. You and I need to walk past these women. There are some women that are just death. Proverbs talks about certain women who lead men into hell. Proverbs 7 talks about that brazen woman who dresses provocatively to garner a man’s attention, and then speaks words of encouragement and flattery to him in an effort to get him into bed so that she might kill his soul.
Not every woman is a victim like Dinah. Some women are perverts like Potiphar’s wife. And gentlemen, you and I must be vigilant to decide in advance before opportunity comes, what it is we will do, okay. I’ll be brutally honest with you. I had a Joseph moment when I was in my 20’s. The church was struggling. We were homeless. It was about 100 people. We were flat broke. I was working 100 hours a week. I was stressed out. My blood pressure was through the roof. My wife and I were not on great terms. We weren’t getting along that well.
It was a low point for me spiritually. I didn’t know if the church was gonna make it. I was frustrated. I was bitter at God. It was just the hardest season of my life. And I was going to do a mission trip, took an overnight flight in a middle seat to an Asian country. And my head was bobbing like a buoy all night. My neck was killing me. I couldn’t sleep. I had a very long layover – like six, eight hours, something like – it was a very long layover in this very nice Asian country.
And in the airport, they had a huge five star hotel. And they had this sort of traveler’s package where you get a neck massage, and then you could get a room, take a shower, brush your teeth, take a nap, and then catch the next leg of your journey. It was a full 24 hours of travel, and then a train ride on top of that. So, I was thinking, “That sounds good. I’ll get the kink out of my neck, take a shower, brush my teeth, take a nap, get on the next plane, do it again.”
Just about asleep – a very attractive woman, nobody around, whispers in my ear all the sexual favors she’s willing to do in another country just like Joseph. My mom and dad aren’t there – just like Joseph. My brothers, my friends, my family, my church – nobody’s there. There’s nobody in this room. We’re all by ourself. She’s an attractive woman. My wife and I aren’t getting along that well, and we’re not getting together as much as we should. I’m frustrated and bitter. I’m thinking about quitting ministry anyways cause I’m just sick of it.
At that point, the church wasn’t even paying me. I’m working for free. At that moment, it was like, you know, I could go one of two ways here. I could start to live this secret life of sin like a lot of guys do and just pursue my own sexual desires on the side, and then go home and pretend to be the loving husband and the nice pastor, or I could get up and run for my life. I’m sitting there making that decision in my 20’s. Got up, ran for my life.
Literally what came to mind – I’m not the godliest man in the world. I sin. I’m not perfect. I’m not Jesus Christ. I don’t want to boast. But what came to mind at that moment was this story. Like I’m a young guy with an opportunity. Joseph ran. I should run. That’s exactly what came to mind. So, I got up and literally ran – literally ran like an idiot. I’m running with all my stuff. I’m running. She’s like, “I’m not done with it.” “Oh, yes, you are.” You know, I’m running. And I called my wife. I said, “Honey, you know what? I’ve not been a good husband. I have not been attentive to you. I have not led you well. I’m frustrated. I’m not taking good care of my body, the church. Everything’s out of control, but it’s my responsibility. Here’s what happened. When I get home, we need to straighten things out, you know.”
And I didn’t – we have five kids now – you know, fifth on the way. And the church is going well. And ministry is going well. And God’s been gracious, and he’s blessed. But I believe at that moment had I made that other decision, I don’t think I’d be married to my wife today, and I don’t think this church would exist today. I don’t think any of you are here. And I think I am some burned out, bitter guy who’s probably waking up working off a hangover this morning instead of preaching the Gospel.
It’s amazing how some decisions have profound implications for the rest of your life. Joseph is a man who has complete anonymity, perfect opportunity. Young, unmarried, good looking, virgin man with an aggressive, experienced woman who would be a great time. He makes his decision – most important decision of his life. He refused.
And gentlemen, just memorize that. If you’ve never memorized a verse, just memorize that fragment. “But he refused.” He didn’t negotiate. He didn’t talk. He didn’t say, “Well, let me think about it. Let’s flirt first. Let’s,” – no, no. Gentlemen, you and I are in a culture that is just saturated with sexual temptation, pornography, strip clubs, prostitutes, loose women, brazen women, cheap women, easy women. It’s easy to have a sexual experience in this culture – not hard at all. But we must refuse. Ephesians says that, “Among God’s people there shouldn’t even be a hint of sexual immorality,” – not even a hint, not even a hint. He refused. He’s a good example, gentlemen, for us all.
“‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.’” That’s a good little sermon, isn’t it? He rebukes her. “I work for your husband, and he trusts me with everything. And you are his wife, not mine. I will not touch you. How dare you ask?”
It’s hard enough for a man to walk by a woman who is available. It takes a whole another level of courage for him to rebuke her. Some women are so sly, so deceiving, so cunning, so manipulative. Men need to be so forthright and so clear and so dogmatic. Who is Joseph thinking about? His master. He’s not thinking about Joseph. Not thinking, “I would love to be with a desirable woman. Maybe I could start to take money and power. Maybe I could unseat Potiphar. Maybe I could take this position for myself. Maybe I could take his wife and the whole household. I’m a slave. This is a wonderful opportunity.”
Joseph humbles himself; thinks about his master, not himself. And then beautifully he says, “‘How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’” That’s the issue. When you and I sin against someone, we also sin against God. At this point, who is there to see Joseph? Nobody, except for God. And Joseph knows this. God is here. God sees what I am doing. God knows what I am doing. What I am doing matters to God. And Potiphar may not be here. Friends, family, church may not be here. No one may be here, but God’s here.” And he looks her right in the eye. And I believe here he is being very bold in his faith. He’s rebuking a woman who has the capacity to sentence him to death. And he tells her, “I love God.” And for those of us who love God, we don’t do these sorts of things.
Now you would anticipate that God would bless him again for this. Something very, very tragic happens. “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day,” – gentlemen, how hard would that be? You say, “Well, I said no to her every day for a year. She kept changing her outfits and changing her tactics. She kept changing her flattery. She kept changing her opportunity.” This woman is relentless. There are some women that when you reject them, they become more inflamed. They say, “Oh, he turned me down. Now it’s a challenge. Now I’m very excited.” She’s that kind of woman. She won’t give up. She has to have him. She – here’s what’s the interesting thing. He’s a slave, but she’s the one who’s enslaved by her own lust. She can’t control herself. Gentlemen, day after day he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. Isn’t that great?
Paul says to the Romans, “Make no provision for the flesh.” Proverbs says, “Can a man scoop coals on his lap and not burn himself?” The rhetorical answer is no. You can’t work with a hot girl who’s attracted to you and you’re attracted to her, and not get in trouble. So, get another job or another person to work with. But we have to be honest about our own heart.
Some of you women are like this woman. You have certain men that you fantasize about. You have certain men that you’re attracted to. You have certain men you think, “I wish my husband was more like that. That husband is attentive or he’s successful or he’s affluent, and I wish my husband were like that.” And secretly, your mind starts to float off into the realm of fantasy. You look forward to bumping in to certain men, so you dress nice when you know you’ll see them at church or work, or when you’re at the store, you’re looking around, hoping that perhaps you bump into them.
They’re a neighbor, and as you’re out taking your walk, you’re hoping that they come out and want to chat just for a moment. There’s some women who continually put themselves in the way of men that they are attracted to. She’s that kind of woman. She’s that kind of woman who keeps putting herself in his way. And he keeps having to literally avoid her. “Oh, she’s in that room. I’ll go over to this room. Oh, my gosh. She came in this room. I’ll go in this room. Now I’m going outside now.” I mean he keeps going, okay.
And it’s not just enough, gentlemen, to resist temptation. It must be a continual, ongoing resistance of temptation for it to be actual integrity and holiness. In the middle of the garden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve had to walk by it every day. This woman is forbidden fruit. Joseph, likewise, is to walk by her every day. And you ladies need to be honest about your heart.
Right now the big problem at Mars Hill is adulterous women, not adulterous men. The majority of our counseling cases where there is marital infidelity, it’s the wife. It is always the wife. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one case we’re dealing with that is not the wife because we beat our men in Jesus’ name. And so many women act like Potiphar’s wife. “My husband is working hard. My husband loves God. He’s not perfect, but he’s busy, and he’s responsible. And I have free time. And I use it to sin and pursue selfish, foolish, perverted desires. And I love attention. I love fantasy. And I love the forbidden.”
Ladies, I need you to be brutally honest about your own heart. And if there is sin there, and you’re married, you need to be brutally honest with your husband. And some of you men say, “Well, this doesn’t pertain to me because the woman I have my hands all over, she’s not married and neither am I. It doesn’t count.” Gentlemen, that will be another man’s wife. And it doesn’t matter whether you put your hands on her before or after the marriage, it’s still a violation of that man’s marriage.
You men need to learn to walk by it. And I know some of you guys. You go get gas. You’ve gotta walk by the porn rack. You drive home. You’ve gotta drive by the strip club. You’re walking into your office, and you gotta walk by the hot girl who flirts with everybody and is an easy score. And you gotta do it every single day because one day – that one day that you don’t, that’s the day that ruins every day after. He’s at this fork in the road. And he keeps deciding that he will honor God.
And now you would think that God would bless him again and honor him. Here’s what happens. “One day he went into the house to attend to his duties,” – he’s doing his job – “and none of the household servants was inside.” I’m reading between the lines. I’m assuming she shoved everybody outside because now she’s moving in for the kill yet again – get rid of all the witnesses. “She caught him by his cloak,” – she literally grabs him by the clothes – “and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’” It’s an order. It’s a command. There are women like this.
If you go to the club, this is what they do, all right. If you’re at the bar, this is what they do. If you’re in the chat room, this is what they do. “But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Joseph literally runs for his life. It’s like Paul tells Timothy. “Flee the evil desires of you.” He just runs for it. You think about it, gentlemen. Young, late teens, early 20’s, virgin man who may never marry or ever touch a woman. Here’s a shot. Here’s a shot to have a great time in the sack. And what he’s thinking about is this. “Potiphar and God are depending on me.” This can’t be about Joseph, and this can’t be about this woman. This has to be about God. What happens to him?
“When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants.” She’s gonna lie now. You know how many women lie about their sin? Almost all. Women love to cry, play the victim, talk about their feelings being hurt, so that men will rise up to defend them. The problem is if it’s a wicked woman, the man is defending an evil woman because she’s crying and emotional. Because she says that something happened. The man automatically assumes that it, in fact, happened.
Gentlemen, we encourage masculine dignity that will rise up and love and defend women and children, but make sure before you rise up to defend a woman that she’s honorable and holy. Don’t defend her just because she’s a woman. If she’s evil, then she should not be defended. She should be rebuked. So many of you women, you sin, and then you cry and change the topic. And you talk a lot, and you tell your story first so that you can cover up yourself. That is a classic, classic defensive move.
She brings everybody together. Here is her version of the story. “‘Look,’ she said to them, ‘this Hebrew,’” – this lowlife, this nobody – “‘has been brought to us to make sport of us!’” He’s making fun of all of us. This involves us all. Everybody, get involved. Any ladies ever tried this? Everybody get involved. Everybody gather around. I have much to say. “‘He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed.’” He’s a pervert. I’m a good woman. That’s not really an accurate interpretation of events, is it?
Not every woman who says that she was taken advantage of was taken advantage of. Certainly there are women like Dinah who are taken advantage of, and they are sinned against – true. But not every woman who claims to be taken advantage of was taken advantage of. Some women are perverted and evil. They’ve been continually rejected by men. And then they seek to destroy their character out of their bitterness.
“‘When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.’” Here’s the evidence. He wanted to sleep with me. “‘She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home.’” Now she’s waiting for her husband. “Then she told him this story,” – and it is a story. It’s not the truth. “‘That Hebrew slave you brought,” – so sort of inferring, “You brought this guy home. He tried to rape me. You made the mess. You fix it.” She’s gonna sick her powerful husband on Joseph. “‘He came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.’” “He tried to rape me. You go get him.”
Gentlemen, what do you do at this point? Husbands? How many husbands say, “I’ll go get my gun. I’ll take care of this. They’ll never find the body.” Husbands are prone to believing their wife, especially if she’s emotional and crying, and especially if she uses words like rape. I’m not saying don’t trust, but I’m saying this. Before you and I rush to judgment, we should get everybody in the room, and we should hear all the sides of the story, right?
How many of you have heard one person’s side of the story, ran off to seek vengeance, and then the other person tells you their side of the story, and you’re like, “Well, that’s totally different?” Somebody’s lying. I had that this week with my kids. My son, Calvin, comes up to me. He’s crying. “Zachie shoved me. He shoved me. Spank him.” This is big brother. I pull Zach over. “Zach, did you shove him?” “Yes.” “Why?” “He stuck a sparkler in my ear.” “Oh.” I look at Calvin. I’m like, “You left that out. That’s a variable you conveniently overlooked.” “Yeah, but he shoved me.” “Yeah, but that’s a hey, my head’s on fire shove. That’s a legitimate shove. We don’t – that’s fine.” He looked over. He had fire coming out of his head. Yeah, I mean he shoved you. He’s not getting disciplined for that.
Calvin’s like, “Well, why don’t you discipline him? He shoved me.” I’m like, “You stuck fire in his head.” Zach’s like, “Yeah, so I shoved him.” I’m like, “There you go.” You know, it’s amazing how – you know, Proverbs says, “The first to present his case seems right until the other evidence is weighed.” That’s why sometimes people who are guilty, they talk first cause they’re trying to get their story out there first to define everything before the truth can be made known.
This husband, here’s how he responds. “When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, ‘This is how your slave treated me,’ he burned with anger.” It’s okay for the husband to get angry if it’s true. If it’s not true – right? I dealt with this in a couple – a little while ago. You don’t know them. They’re not, you know – but the husband got all mad, ran off, and was gonna murder the guy who was flirting with his wife. And the guy says, “Well, did you tell her? She’s been calling and emailing and dropping by the house and sending me letters and giving me presents?” And, “No, she didn’t tell me that. So, you weren’t just aggressively pursuing her? She was actually aggressively pursuing you?” “Yeah.”
He goes back to his wife. “Honey, did you send emails, calls, gifts, drop by? Were you pursuing him for the last months?” “Well, I don’t really – I mean you could look at it that way.” The husband then burns with anger, and it transitions to his wife. Like you are not a victim here. You’re a perverted, evil, disgusting, Proverbs 7 kind of brazen, adulterous wife.
Ladies, just cause you cry doesn’t mean you’re a victim. Just because you tell your story first doesn’t mean it’s right. There are women in this room who are victims. There are women in this room who are criminals in God’s eyes. This husband doesn’t do his job. Had he sat Joseph down and said, “Joseph, my wife comes to me with this unbelievable accusation. What is your side of the story?” Joseph could have told the truth. The husband never asked. He’s just gonna rise up with his masculine dignity and go crush Joseph.
I’ll tell you what, gentlemen. Don’t defend the honor of your wife until you’re certain that she’s honorable. If she’s just guilty, don’t rise up to defend her in her sin. And ladies, don’t manipulate your men with tears and storytelling. Be honest about your own heart.
“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” He goes to jail on a false rape charge. The guy doesn’t get a hearing. He doesn’t get to tell his story – nothing. Just you go to jail, that’s it. No justice in this at all. He could have been sentenced to death, so I guess this is better than he likely could have gotten.
How many of you have been told, “If you love God, if you serve God, if you honor God, life will go well?” You know, that’s not true. I know this isn’t a great sales pitch. This is where I’m supposed to say, “And Joseph lived happily ever after, and, you know, he just got to go straight to heaven like Enoch in a flaming chariot. And now he’s eating fruit and singing worship sons, and it’s all good.” You know what? Life got worse. The more he obeyed God, the worse life got.
Some of you are here today, and you’re looking at your life saying, “I obeyed God. I did what God wanted. I didn’t sin. I resisted temptation, and my life is hard.” It’s Biblical. You’re a Christian. See, this is nothing like Jesus, who got betrayed by a friend and murdered for no reason. Well, as a matter of fact, to be a Christian is to get treated like Christ – injustice, false accusation, betrayal, hardship.
The point is this. Just because you obey God does not mean that life goes well. It may mean that life goes very hard for a while; that the bad guys win for a while; that the evildoers succeed for a while. He’s gonna go to jail. Later on, he’s gonna rise up. Eventually he does rise back up, but it’s only because he has character, and it takes time. Some of you have been told if you become a Christian and do what God says, life gets better. I’ll tell you what. Sometimes it just gets harder, but you need to decide between an easy life and an obedient life. And if you decide to have an obedient life, God will eventually bless that, but it may not be all of a sudden, in the moment. It may be sometime.
He goes off to jail – prison. Second time this guy’s thrown in a pit. And this is an Egyptian prison 4,000 years ago. This isn’t Martha Stewart Camp Cupcake, right? This is real jail. This is an Egyptian hole in the ground. You don’t get weights and cable TV and cigarettes, you know. Four thousand years ago, you’re a Hebrew. You’re in Egypt in a hole. That’s a bad place, especially for an attractive young man. That’s a bad place, right?
“But while Joseph was there in the prison,” – here’s the key. Who was with him? “The LORD was with him.” The Lord was with him. See, everything has changed except for his relationship with God. He went from free to slave. He went from power to prison. God’s still with him because he’s a man who has obeyed God. He has obeyed God, and so God is with him.
You know, we have a brother here this morning. His name is James. He had a bad past; came to Christ; major life transformation; went to prison. He went to jail recently because there was an outstanding warrant – a long situation – just sort of a fluke. I saw him last week – two weeks ago. He came up right after service. “Man, it’s so good to see you.” We were praying for him every day. I said, “How are you? You know, you’re away from family, friends, church?” He said, “I’m doing fine. Jesus was with me in jail. I read my Bible a lot, and I got to lead a guy to Christ.”
You know, that’s the attitude of Joseph. Like, you know, I’m not supposed to be here, but God’s with me, so it’s not such a bad place. And it feels like you’re abandoned or alone, but you know what? God is with Joseph. God is with those who are obedient to him. You know, you think about it. How many of us would just be in prison bitter at God? “God, this stinks. I’m away from family, friends, church. My brothers betrayed me. I worked hard at my job. I got fired, accused of rape, thrown in prison. Now I’m in jail. I’m wasting away the best years of my life. I’ll never get married, own a house. I’ll never have kids. I’ll never accomplish anything. I’m gonna die here in the Egyptian hole.” Not a word, not a word.
“God, I love you. I’m gonna obey you. I’m gonna trust you. I know you’re a good God, and I’m gonna hang in there until I see it for myself.” This is faith. “The Lord was with him. He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.” He got put in charge of the jail. You know you’re a dependable guy when you’re in jail and they give you keys.
That’s a Christian right there. They’re like, “Well, isn’t he gonna run off?” “No, he’s a Christian.” “What the,” – he’s a real Christian. I mean he’s like varsity. This guy is the real deal. We can give him keys, let him run the prison. Here’s what he’s gonna do. He’s gonna do our work. He’s gonna do our job of running the prison and taking care of everybody because Joseph, wherever he goes, asks this question. “How can I be a blessing wherever I’m at?” That’s what Joseph’s thinking. “How can I be a blessing? I’m in prison. There’s an opportunity to bless here.”
See, Joseph is always thinking about God; what’s best for God; what does God want; what would honor God; what would please God; what would cause people to inquire of God. “I’m the only Christian in the whole country. I better be careful that I represent God well here.” Joseph is an exemplary guy. He’s not sinless and perfect, but he’s a godly man. And I hope it’s encouragement for all of us that we’ve had thousands of years of history so far in Genesis, and it’s been a lot of sin and folly. But there is occasionally someone who loves God and walks with a faith.
The story ends. “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care.” That guy just sat back, shot hoops, and took naps. Why? “Because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Here’s the point of the story of Joseph thus far. Our faith, friends, is about dying. Probably nobody’s ever told you that. Everybody’s told you that our faith is about living – living victorious, successful, triumphant, wealthy, healthy life. It’s about death. Our faith is about death. It’s about dying to sin; dying to self; dying to perversion; dying to finances; dying to power.
And it is making every decision based upon one simple question. What would honor God? That’s it. Joseph could have gotten rich and powerful, and had an incredible sex life. And instead he chose to honor God continually with his life. So, he died to this woman’s tempting desires. He died to this opportunity to seize power. He died to this opportunity to gain wealth. He was dead to it so that he could be alive to God. Paul says that we can’t simultaneously be alive to sin and alive to God. You’re either alive to sin, and dead to God, or you’re alive to God, and dead to sin.
You’ve gotta live a dead life. You’re either gonna die to God or sin. And the message of Christianity is the message of death. We look at the Lord Jesus. You’ll see the family resemblances, right? Young man tempted continually. Rejects temptation. Instead of being honored, gets betrayed by someone close to him that likewise rips his garment from him. He gets brought up on false charges like Joseph, and he gets sent down. Joseph gets sent to prison. Jesus gets murdered and sent to the grave.
And friends, that is the Christian life. You die. You die. Three days later, Jesus rises from death. Now he is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, high and exalted. You know what? The last – they come first. The simple confound the wise. The weak overcome the strong. The whole paradox of our faith is that no one is really alive until they’ve mastered the art of dying. Die – die to all your ambitions. Die to all your selfish perversions. Die to all your provisions of the flesh and your excuse making. And just ask this question. What would honor God? I will live with him and I will live for him. Because here’s the truth.
It looks in Egypt as if Joseph is a poor man. The truth is he has the presence of God. That’s the one thing that no one else in the nation of Egypt has. And it looks like Joseph is a slave, but the truth is he’s free because he belongs to God. Joseph is the great paradox of a man who looks like his life has absolutely ended. The truth is that God is with him, and his life is just beginning. Now God will honor that and bless that. You will see in the rest of the story. He will rise up. He will become a right-hand man, not to Potiphar, but to Pharaoh. And he will feed millions of people. He will saves millions of lives because he kept asking the question, “How can I honor God and bless people? How can I honor God and bless people?” And so God honored and blessed that man.
You and I should aspire to give our sins to Jesus. Ladies, if you’re a pervert like Potiphar’s wife, Jesus Christ will forgive you and cleanse you, but you need to put your sin to death. Gentlemen, you and I, if we have sinned, then we need to give that to Christ, who has died for us. And then we must crucify our sin and live for Jesus. That you and I cannot simultaneously run in two directions. Joseph couldn’t run towards sin and God, and so he had to run toward God, and he had to die to temptation and sin. You and I must constantly every day make this same choice – that we are dead to sin and alive to Christ. Otherwise, we are dead to Christ and alive to sin.
And I’m not telling you you’re gonna get rich. I’m not telling you you’re gonna be happy. I’m not telling you you’re gonna be successful, but I am telling you this. You’ll be with God. And if you treasure God more than anything or anyone else, you will be satisfied because you have the one thing that you could not receive of your own doing, and that is the gracious presence of the loving God in your life no matter who you are or where you are. And he will never leave you. And he will never forsake you. And in time, he will raise you up and honor you in this life or the life to come. But you have to trust him until that happens.
Mars Hill, I’ve gotta let you go to God now. I’ve gotta let you deal with God. Do you love God? Do you live for God? Do you serve God? Are you dead to sin? Are you alive to God? When you’re ready, you can repent. You can get time to talk to God. Maybe you’re here and you’re married, and you guys have sin off to the side that you have been concealing. And it’s time to bring it out and confess it to the loved one you’re here with. You could partake of communion, which is remembering Jesus’ body and blood. We’ll give our tithes and offerings. We’ll sing and celebrate.
And we’re gonna leave here with the intention of making our decisions based upon what honors God and blesses people, not about what seems most pleasurable in the moment, because that is the sight of a fool that can’t see down the road. And had Joseph went to bed with her, millions of people would have starved to death. He didn’t know that then. You and I never know the implications of our life. All we know is that if we honor God, he will honor us. And if we bless people, that they will be blessed by the kindness that God has given to us. And that is our hope, that we would bless others; that we would honor God. That’s it. We leave the consequences in the hands of God.
Lord, God, thanks for the time to study together. I thank you for the life of our brother, Joseph. God, it’s a painful story. But, God, thank you that it’s in the Bible. It’s true. God, I thank you that Joseph did not succumb to sin, God, like so many men before him who were tempted. He didn’t sin. He didn’t go to bed like his great-grandpa, Abraham, like his daddy, Jacob, like his brother, Judah. He didn’t sin. He said no. And he said no over and over and over.
God, may we be like him, by grace. May you empower us by grace to be people who say no to sin and yes to you; people who die to sin and live for your presence and your honor alone. God, may we walk into our jobs, and our communities, and our ministries seeking to bless; seeking to give; seeking to contribute so that others might be blessed. Whether or not we are rich or poor.