Genesis 39: Resist the devil…

I really like movies, especially funny ones and those that keep me on the edge of my seat. I like Adam Sandler movies, and one of my favorites of his is Waterboy. In that film, his character has an over-protective mother who won’t let him do anything that might cause her to lose him, whether that be playing “foozball” or going out with women. She tells Bobby (Sandler’s character) that “women are the devil!!!” Now, I don’t actually believe that women are the physical incarnation of Satan himself, but I have known a few women who had some devilish tendencies (not including my beautiful wife, of course).

In Genesis 39, we get to meet one of these devil-women. We don’t know her name – we only know her as Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar was the captain of Pharaoh’s guard (Pharaoh being like an Egyptian king), so he was a very important guy. He had bought Joseph as a slave, and over time he saw that Joseph was favored by God in that all Joseph did was successful and he prospered. Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything he had and withheld nothing from him, save his wife. This right here tells me one of 3 things: either Potiphar was careless, or he was really good at delegating, or the favor of God on Joseph was extremely evident. I think the last one is most likely correct. Anyway, in comes the devil-woman. She sees that Joseph is pretty hot and tempting, and she tries to seduce him. This kind of stuff never happens to me, so I can’t tell you how Joseph felt, but I do know what he did – he fled! He ran away, and even better, the text says “he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.” He not only fled, he tried to keep himself from getting in that situation again. Now, living in the same house, it was nearly impossible to do this, and of course we know that he ends up getting framed by Potiphar’s wife and getting sent to prison. But as with all things, it’s the thought that counts.

James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” I know as well as anyone how easy it is to give in to temptations. But if we will follow Joseph’s example, and instead of just saying to ourselves “that’s bad, I’m not going to do that,” but actually flee from that situation and any situation where we might be tempted to sin, we would be less likely to fall into Satan’s traps. But in order to do this, we have to change our attitudes about sin. God takes it seriously, so Joseph took it seriously. Joseph told Potiphar’s wife “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” He was worried about what God thought, which gave him the attitude he needed to resist that temptation.

God, help me to change my attitude toward sin, and to flee when the devil sends temptations my way.


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