Scripture Reading: Genesis 39:7-20
“‘How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’ And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not l listen to her, to be beside her or to be with her.” (Genesis 39:9b,10)
As we have seen, Joseph faced a continual and intense battle with temptation. Day after day Mrs. Potiphar attempted to seduce him because she was attracted to him — “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me'” (vs. 6b,7). But Joseph refused to do so. He resisted the temptation day after day.
Notice what Joseph said — “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Let’s break down his words. “How then can I DO?” The temptation becomes sin when we act on it. When this happens, the battle is lost and we denied Christ’s power and grieved our heavenly Father. “How then can I do this GREAT WICKEDNESS?” Joseph called sin what it is. He saw it as a great wickedness. “And sin AGAINST GOD?” Here is the bottom line. Hurting others is bad, but offending God is the ultimate wickedness of sin. This is why David in his Psalm of Confession said, “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4).
Joseph refused to give into the temptation. He said, “NO!” to it over and over. He removed himself physically when he was being tempted. This is a critical step in resisting temptation. We have to take action and remove ourselves from situations where we are being tempted.
James tells us this about resisting temptation — “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:4,7,8a). We must submit to God. In other words, we must keep a fresh and vibrant relationship with our God. We cannot resist temptation in our own strength. We have to look to Jesus to give us the desire and the strength to resist temptation. We have to see God for who He truly is. When we do this, we will desire to honor Him at all costs.
C.H. Spurgeon Worte these words — “While I regarded God as a tyrant, I thought sin a trifle; but when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought that God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against He one who loved me so, and sought my good” (C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 41, p. 304).
When we see God for who He truly is, we will desire to submit to Him, for we will not want to grieve the One who loves us so much. Then we can resist the devil and know that he will flee from us.
Heavenly Father, I have offended You and dishonored You so many times. Forgive me for failing to resist temptation and falling into sin. You are so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion. I know that I grieve You when I fail to submit to You and resist sin. I am so sorry, for I know that You love me so much and You always seek my good. Let me rekindle my love for You and give me the strength to resist the devil and all temptations that come my way.