And he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. ~ Genesis 39:20a-22
Sin is a slave master. It is always destructive. It always leads to death.
Ironically, when Joseph finds himself enslaved and in chains physically, he is rejects the chains and enticement of sin which would have led to true spiritual slavery.
Joseph is sold into slavery as a 17-year old. His first master is Potipher, an officer of Pharoah. This Potipher recognizes Joseph’s honorable character and places this 17-year old slave in charge of his household. Everything that Joseph is charged with prospers. One day, Potipher’s wife entices Joseph to sleep with him. Sometimes the most difficult temptation is that which comes to us quickly, out of the blue! Here, we learn something about Joseph’s character.
Joseph’s integrity is rooted in two key values. First, he respect others. He will not sleep with Potipher’s wife because he does not want to disrespect his master. Second, he will not sin against God. In these values, his integrity is established and he rejects the enticing chains of temptation.
We all face temptation. When we sin we hurt someone else, we ruin relationships with other people. Ultimately, when we give into temptation, we hurt our relationship with God. Think of this, your relationships with others and with God, the next time you face temptation.
Now, if you give into temptation and do sin, God can completely forgive you. God wants you to reject temptation, but He has promised forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. He can wipe away all of your sins and make them white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). You may still face consequences for sin, but Jesus’ mercy will allow you start over.
Joseph decides not to sin and give into temptation. To accomplish this, he avoids Potipher’s wife and when she tries to accost him, he flees!
To avoid temptation:
1. Make a conscious decision to reject temptation.
2. Think of the relationships you value: with others and God.
3. Take clear steps to avoid that temptation. This may take some sacrifice. Make a barrier. Turn off the screen. Stay away from those places. Remove that substance from your house.
4. Get accountability. Let someone know that you are struggling.
5. If you do all this, and still temptation finds you, flee! Get out of that situation, whether it is a job, restaurant, movie, etc.
Now, Joseph rejects temptation and we might think that immediately God will bless him. However, he gets thrown in prison because Potipher’s wife accuses him of rape. He does reject chains of temptation, but finds himself in chains in prison. God’s presence is still there with Joseph in prison and, eventually, Joseph is greatly rewarded.
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him...”