The sports world is filled with stories of a young and rising team against an older team, skilled and experienced in the sport. Often the storyline is that the younger team does not stand a chance against the veteran champions. This story is like that for it matches a young godly man against a strong temptation that has conquered many.
The Bible speaks plainly about sexual immorality. The amount of material in the Scriptures on the subject witnesses to mankind’s fatal attraction to this sin. The Lord has recorded such incidents as this one from Joseph’s life as warnings to us all. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:11-13 ESV).
Let us begin with some general observations (39:6-7).
- The blessing of good looks can be a source of temptation. By his sovereign will, God has chosen to bless certain people with physical attractiveness. A few are even very good looking (Genesis 24:16; 2 Samuel 11:2). God made you how you are (Exodus 4:11). But in this world of sin, even the good gifts of God can become a source of temptation, either to yourself or others. Many beautiful women have found themselves to be objects of lust rather than love. Don’t blame the Lord for the good gift. The temptation is not in the gift, but in sin’s misuse of it. If sin can misuse even the holy law of God, it can also misuse the gift of beauty (Romans 7:10-13).
- Temptation does not appear suddenly in every course of events. Sometimes we can unpack our bags and settle in before it raises its ugly head (39:7). Temptation can be like a cat, watching its prey for the optimal moment to pounce. Beware of being lulled into a false sense of security. A change of venue does not mean that sin has disappeared. Some have changed jobs because they “could not handle the pressure.” Yet the circumstances of the new job allowed them to walk farther away from the Lord.
- Marital infidelity isn’t new (39:7). Some foolish people think that sexual immorality is proof of being modern and liberated. There is nothing new or liberating in adultery. This incident happened over 3700 years ago, and there was sexual immorality before this. It comes out of the human heart (Mark 7:21). God’s word always requires that sexual desires may only be fulfilled within the bond of marriage. There are no exceptions for anyone at anytime.
- God does not necessarily spare his children from severe spiritual trials. Jesus Christ his Son had to endure temptation (Matthew 4:1). We are wise to pray to be kept from temptation. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13 CSB). Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41 CSB).
Joseph found himself in a very dangerous, nearly deadly situation, due to the lusts of another person. Temptation to sin can come in a variety of ways and situations. We don’t have to go looking for it. For this reason, we must be prepared. Fill your heart with godly, heavenly desires, and rely on the help of the Holy Spirit.
Grace and peace, David