Week 4, Day 4

A Masterclass in Fighting Sin

This chapter brings us back into the roller coaster ride of Joseph’s life. In verses 7-12, he gives a masterclass in confronting, resisting, and fleeing temptation. Today we will focus on Joseph’s rhetorical question to Potiphar’s wife in verse 9: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Joseph recognized that to give in to sin in this way would be “great wickedness.” He did not allow himself to rationalize or justify this behavior. As we will see in the chapters to come, Joseph had a strong sense of God’s sovereign hand in the events of his life. This perspective clearly cultivated a deep reverence, or fear of God, in Joseph, which in turn produced two very important virtues:

Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)
• Wisdom can be defined as the ability to discern what is true, right, and lasting.
• Joseph understood that this sinful proposition was dishonest, wrong, and temporal.

Hatred of Evil (Proverbs 8:13)
• Joseph was disgusted by the evil of an adulterous encounter. He rightly identified this temptation as “great wickedness.”

In verses 8-9, Joseph described the complete trust that Potiphar placed in him. Potiphar was carefree regarding the matters of his household and had delegated everything to Joseph’s management. It would have been a massive betrayal of trust to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife. While Joseph clearly desired to honor his earthly master, he rejected her advance by refusing to “sin against God.”

God cares deeply about our relationships with other people and Scripture is filled with commands to love sacrificially and to honor others above ourselves. However, our primary reason to reject sin is not because of the very real destruction that it brings to our horizontal human relationships. Rather, like Joseph, we must refuse to embrace sin because it is offensive to our holy, holy, holy God (Isaiah 6:3). King David understood this principle when he wrote Psalm 51:4 after committing adultery: “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”

Reflection Questions

• Do you see the sin in your life as “great wickedness” or as minor infraction of arbitrary rules? Pray that God would increase your awareness of His sovereign reign and increase your reverence, awe, and fear of Him (Isaiah 66:2 & Psalm 86:11)

• Is love and reverence for God your primary reason to avoid sin? Do you ask, like Joseph, “How can I sin against God?” Consider your motivations in life and pray that you would be driven to please Him (Colossians 1:10 & Galatians 1:10).
John Michael leads a small group Bible study and helps lead Bible Skills Team in kid’s ministry. He and his wife Rachael have three girls - Lydia, Mia Jade, and Hannah.  
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