Throughout his difficult ordeal, Joseph chose to trust God with everything that was happening to him. Therefore, he was able to carry on with his life, endeavoring to do his best in everything that was required of him. His efforts were blessed by God and noticed by Potiphar, who eventually entrusted everything to Joseph’s care. Then, as Joseph is honored with power and authority, he is forcefully confronted with temptation.
1. Read Genesis 39:1-19. Describe Joseph’s predicament.
2. What type of conflicting emotions do you imagine Joseph dealt with while being pursued by Potiphar’s insistent wife day after day?
3. How did Joseph deal with this seductive temptation?
4. What does Joseph’s response demonstrate about his attitude:
· Toward sin?
· Toward God?
· Toward those who trust him?
Focus on the Meaning: “Temptation is a fact in God’s world. Temptation itself is not sin; it is something we are bound to face simply by virtue of being human... Beware of thinking that you are tempted as no one else—what you go through is the common inheritance of the human race, not something that no one has ever before endured. God does not save us from temptations—He sustains us in the midst of them.” (Oswald Chambers)
5. How is God able to sustain us in the midst of temptation? Glean your answers from the following verses:
· Hebrews 2:17-18—
· Hebrews 4:15-16—
· 1 Corinthians 10:13—
6. Read Genesis 39:20-23. Joseph remained faithful to God in the midst of temptation, but suffered unjustly for it and was sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Once again, where was God in the midst of such bitter, unfair circumstances? How did He encourage Joseph?
7. Your Life’s Journey: Have you, like Joseph, ever been faithful to God despite tremendous personal cost? How did God encourage you in your situation? Consider writing a poem of thankfulness for His faithfulness to you.
Think About It: The way to wisdom is to consider the cost of sin. Joseph did not yield to temptation because he was convinced God had something marvelous for him to do. Joseph would not throw away God’s blessings for the pleasures of sin. Nor was he troubled because he suffered for his faithfulness. God would ultimately honor him as He had promised. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, p. 90)
Falsely accused of attempted rape, Joseph remains in prison, forgotten by everyone (except God). He has now been a slave in Egypt for ~11 years. Despite the incredible wait, Joseph refuses to allow discouragement to imprison his heart and make him lose hope. He actively serves others, focusing on God with all of his mind and strength.
8. Read Genesis chapters 40-41. Describe how God dramatically secures Joseph’s release from prison and ultimately exalts and blesses His faithful servant.
9. In what ways, do you think, Joseph’s long period of “darkness” prepared him for the incredible “dawn” he would eventually experience?
Think About It: The dross of our character—pride, rebellion, self-sufficiency—melts in the crucible called waiting. Yet it is a crucible that we do everything to avoid. We even have a cultural myth that says to wait is to waste time…And even though suffering may force us to slow down, to wait, we complain and seek solace in mindless distractions and miss the refining of our character that God intended. (Chuck Swindoll)
10. Your Life’s Journey: Consider the following questions:
· Do you consider waiting a waste of time?
· Read 1 Peter 5:10. If you are currently in the “crucible of waiting”, consider this verse and ask God to help you see His work in your character with the following question: What in your character does God need to perfect or strengthen in you?
Temptation is the oldest of all the inner conflicts in the human heart, and the battle against it is a hard fought one. Although temptation may lead to sin, it is not in and of itself a sin. Everyone, including Jesus, has struggled with it, but Jesus is the only person who hasn’t suffered the consequences of yielding to it (see Matthew 4:1-11). However temptation is “packaged,” it always entices us to step out of our faith relationship with God and believe that we can’t trust Him with the timing and the result of our predicament. If our circumstances are difficult, we can fall into the trap of concluding that God isn’t good and loving or that He doesn’t care about the hardships we are facing. Our tendency is to demand instant relief from our situation, choosing to give up on God rather than persevering, through faith, amidst the difficulties and/or drudgery of life.
In today’s society, Joseph “lost” 13 years of his life and would have been considered a “victim” of unjust circumstances—a man whose personal “rights” had been ignored or violated. But in reality, Joseph was a “victor”. For 13 years God tested and refined Joseph’s faith. Then, when Joseph had proven himself faithful to God throughout everything that happened to him, God exalted him. When life gets you down, and you are tempted to “give up” on God and take matters into your own hands, remember:
· Who God is. He is God, and I am not. He is creator of the universe and all mankind; He knows me and loves me and sees my situation; nothing is hidden from Him.
· Agree that God knows what He is doing. He has a greater purpose for me in the midst of my difficult situation. Although I may not see it right now, like it, or understand it, I can trust his character. His word is true, and He will honor his promises and meet my needs.
· Let your actions be based on the truth of God’s Word, not your feelings or emotions which can lead you astray. Depend on Jesus for the power to persevere, and trust Him with the results.
11. Your Life’s Journey: How does the above information encourage you? How can you apply it to your life? Consider transferring the truths to a 3x5 card to keep handy for the next time you need to be reminded of them.