Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 10: Being Faithful
July 25 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 39:2-10, 19-23

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 10: Being Faithful | Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday, July 25, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 10: Being Faithful

By Kim D. Shaver Genesis 39:2-10, 19-23

When last we left Joseph, he had been sold by his brothers to some merchants and was headed by caravan through the desert towards Egypt. Once arriving in Egypt, the merchants sold the teenager Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, and Joseph worked as a slave for several years. He matured into a handsome, strong and capable young man.

The drama that unfolds next will teach us about the faithfulness and overruling sovereignty of God. We will see also the faithfulness of Joseph to God in the face of extreme temptation.

Remain Trustworthy (Genesis 39:2-6a) "The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master."

What do you think of when you hear the word "prosperity"? Most of us think of the world's definition of prosperity, which suggests wealth, ease and good fortune. How could anyone experience prosperity as a slave in a foreign land among strangers? Yet Joseph was indeed prospered by God in this adversity. The passage states that Potiphar "saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did ... from that time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, and the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph..." Ultimately, we experience prosperity not because of what happens to us or where we are, but because of the prevailing presence of God in our lives.

God was at work continually, causing Joseph to succeed in the work undertaken. This consistent success is described in Psalm 1:3. "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." When we put the roots of our lives down deep into the Living Water, who is Jesus, then we will bear eternal fruit and continually experience the presence of God. This doesn't mean we will have a lack of hardship. Rather, it means that God will be with us to "bless the work of our hands" and give us inner peace and joy despite adversity.

Resist Temptation (Genesis 39:6b-10) Joseph was such an able manager that Potiphar "entrusted to his care everything he owned." Joseph had earned the explicit trust of his master, and was enjoying a time of peace and well being. Perhaps Joseph was in what we would call "a comfort zone." Those who God intends to use mightily seldom get to stay long in such a comfortable place.

Sure enough, conflict enters this complacent scene when Potiphar's beautiful wife "takes notice" of the handsome Joseph and invites him to come to bed with her. Joseph displays utmost integrity by refusing her, not tentatively - but with authority. He gives three reasons for refusing. First, doing so would violate the great trust Potiphar had placed in him. Second, such an action would be "wicked." In Egypt, morals were loose, but Joseph didn't fall into the trap of "when in Egypt, do as the Egyptians do." He might be miles and years away from his religious training, but he remained faithful to the commands of the Lord. Third, said Joseph, committing adultery with Potiphar's wife would be a "sin against God."

Ultimately, every time we sin, we are offending a Holy God. King David understood this when he wrote in his Psalm of confession, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" (Psalm 51:4). Joseph refused to betray the God of his fathers. He continually stood firm when it would have been far easier to give in, as Potiphar's wife "spoke to Joseph day after day," tempting him repeatedly. But wisely, Joseph refused to "even be with her."

Sometimes, the only way to overcome temptation is to completely avoid the situation where temptation might occur.

Recognize God's Faithfulness (Genesis 39:19-23) Potiphar's wife was unaccustomed to being spurned. She retaliated, telling Potiphar that Joseph had made advancements towards her. Joseph's master "burned with anger" and threw Joseph into prison on these slanderous charges.

On the surface, it seems that Joseph fared worse for doing what was right. Most of us have experienced this harsh reality. Instead of taking the path of least resistance, we chose the harder right over the easier wrong. Then everything seems to fall apart, but God always has the final word and will reward those who are faithful. So it was with Joseph. Even in prison, "the Lord was with him and showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden and gave Joseph success in whatever he did."

We serve a God who can prosper and bless us even in dark, cold and lonely places like prison.

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7/25/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 39:2-10, 19-23 | with 0 comments
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