In Genesis 50 Joseph asked a question that we can view as the guiding influence of his remarkable life – AM I IN THE PLACE OF GOD?
Not only did this attitude enable him to snuff out any defiling root of bitterness from his heart, but it gave him strength in the hour of temptation.
Genesis 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Joseph had become the number one guy in Potiphar’s house. He was in charge, and everybody answered to him. Everybody but Potiphar’s desperate housewife. The Bible says she “cast her eyes upon Joseph” and enticed him to fulfill her adulterous desires.
Joseph understood the weakness of his flesh and acknowledged the presence of God. The Bible says he “hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” Then there came a day when he went into the house to do his business (no indoor plumbing back then that I’m aware of, so no, that’s not what it means – his business was the oversight of Potiphar’s house). With no other men in the house, Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph by the coat and made one more plea for him to join her in her sin.
What did Joseph do? He FLED like a man (1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Corinthians 6:18). He didn’t invite temptation (Romans 13:14; Matthew 6:13), he ran for the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
But why? He was far away from his home and family. Potiphar was gone. There was no one else in the house. Potiphar’s wife wasn’t likely to tell. He might have been overseer of Potiphar’s house, but he was still a slave. What did he have to lose? The blessing of Almighty God.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
When we yield to temptation, we can trace only to trace it to 1 of 3 basic things: either (1) we have allowed the devil to deceive us into dismissing the presence of God from our thought process (Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 3:6), (2) we somehow think we are smarter than God is – that we’d be better off doing what we want than obeying His commandment (Psalm 18:30), or (3) we don’t love Him enough to want to do what pleases Him (James 1:12).
Joseph didn’t put himself in the place of God. He was mindful of a God in heaven to whom he would give account. He knew any sin He committed was ultimately against that God (Psalm 51:4). Armed with this knowledge, he stood strong against the devil’s wiles and was victorious in the hour of temptation.