Joseph-The Servant and Prisoner
Dr. Joe Temple

INTRODUCTION

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 39. We have already talked together about chapter 37 of the book of Genesis as an introduction to the last section of the book. As we have said, every book in the Bible has an outline placed there by the Holy Spirit, and the outline of the book of Genesis is based upon one phrase, “these are the generations.” You will remember that that phrase was found in verse 2 of chapter 37…“these are the generations of Jacob.” We said that that phrase would introduce to us the last section of the book of Genesis, a section primarily concerned with Joseph. A very normal question would be, “If this last section is concerned with Joseph, why does it say, ‘These are the generations of Jacob'?”

The answer lies in the fact that everything in the Old Testament is introduced by the heads of the families. Jacob was the head of the family. The other sons of Jacob will be mentioned, but Joseph stands out above them all. So we said to you that since the major portion of this remaining section will deal with Joseph, we would need to familiarize ourselves with Joseph, not only for what he is, but for that for which he stands.

I mentioned to you also that probably all of us are so familiar with the story of Joseph that we could tell it backwards and forwards, because we have heard it so often in Sunday School and Bible clubs, etc. We would just tell the story of Joseph now, but we suggested to you that we believe there is a deeper meaning in the story of Joseph than is ordinarily presented to boys and girls.

We suggested to you that we would make new approaches to the life of Joseph…one from a practical standpoint, to learn the ordinary, practical lessons revealed to us in Joseph as he represents any child of God, and the other from a typical standpoint.

We took you, you will remember, to chapter 10 of Paul's first Corinthian letter, and pointed out to you how God intended that the life of Joseph should really be studied in that manner.

In chapter 37 of the book of Genesis, you will keep in mind, Joseph was presented to us as he lived at home, as he was reproached by his brethren, and as he was sold into slavery. In chapter 39 we are going to see Joseph in the land of Egypt, or typically speaking, Joseph in the hands of the Gentiles.

Chapter 38 does not lend itself readily to discussion in a public assembly. If you are familiar with the subject matter, I think you will understand. There arises a question in the minds of folk, “Why is it even there? Why is it injected almost as something extra…almost as though it does not belong?” We want to say to you that it is not injected as something extra, and it is not presented as though it is something that does not belong. Chapter 38 is presented from a practical standpoint. It tells the story of what happens when a man gives bent to his unbridled passions without one consideration of what is right or what is wrong.

In chapter 39, we are going to see, by way of contrast, a man who bridles his passions and who becomes subject to the Spirit of God, and in becoming subject to the Spirit of God provides a testimony that has a tremendous effect on everyone around him.

So chapter 38, I believe, is put there much as you might put a black backdrop that the beauty of a gem might be the clearer. Certainly chapter 39 is the brighter because you have to wade through chapter 38.

FORETELLING CHANGES IN NATION OF ISRAEL

From a typical standpoint chapter 38 seems to me to be an illustration of the inspiration of the Scriptures. You will keep in mind that we have been considering, and we are going to continue considering Joseph as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will remember that in chapter 37 we left Joseph sold into the hands of the Egyptians, which is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. From the moment the Lord Jesus Christ was delivered into the hands of the Gentiles, God refused to recognize the Jew any longer as a source or a channel through which He would work. The Jew was completely changed in his practice, in his outlook, and even in his worship, so that the Jew, who was the chosen people of God, and though he is still God's chosen race, has become an unlovely race of people from many standpoints and has become the object of persecution and suffering.

I would like to point out a part of chapter 38 to you from a typical standpoint.

Genesis 38:

1And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
2And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
3And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
4And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
5And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.

That is as much as we are going to read, because the typical lesson that we want to draw is found in the names mentioned in this paragraph.

A CHANGE IN NAME

For example, from the time that the Lord Jesus Christ was turned over to the Gentiles, the nation of Israel was never known as the nation of Israel any longer. The nation of Israel became known as the Jews.

That gave rise to a suggestion about the ten lost tribes of Israel. They are not lost. God knows where they are. But the entire nation took the name of Judah. The first individual whom we meet in this chapter is Judah, who became the forebear of the entire nation, prophetically speaking.

A CHANGE IN OCCUPATION

The Jews were agricultural people, and God intended that they should be an agricultural people. But from 70 A.D., when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, down to the present hour and beyond, as long as God may permit, the Jews have ceased to be predominately an agricultural people and have become merchantmen…the best traders, the shrewdest traders the world has ever seen.

You will notice that that is typified in verse 2, because Judah went in to a daughter of a certain Canaanite. The word Canaanite means merchant . It means one who trades .

I think we will all agree, although perhaps people who are not familiar with the Word of God find it difficult to understand the reason for it, that the Jews are about the shrewdest traders there are, knowing how to drive a good bargain and always in their own interests. Because they have a way of getting the best of most Gentiles, they become very unlovely in the eyes of Gentiles. Here it is prophesied, typically speaking, in chapter 38 of the book of Genesis.

IMPORTANT MEANINGS OF NAMES

We have suggested to you that the names of children in the Old Testament were always very significant. In most instances, if not in all, they were given with a prophetic import in mind. That certainly is the case here in chapter 38, because you will notice that Judah married this Canaanite girl named Shuah. Shuah means riches . Here he was changing his occupation from farmer to merchant and making an alliance with wealth.

Three children were born to that union. One of them was Er. Another was Onan. Another was Shelah. Those names are indicative, typically speaking, of the condition of the Jewish race in the generation in which we live, or this present age, from the time of the destructiion of the city of Jerusalem down to the present time.

The word Er , for example, means enmity . As we are going to see, the Jews have become very definitely the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not hesitate to express that enmity against the Son of God. As a result, they are guilty of an iniquity described in Isaiah, chapter 53, as an iniquity that must be confessed if ever they are to be reinstated to the place of privilege that God once gave them. It is significant, I think, to recognize that Onan means iniquity .

The third son of Judah was named Shelah. The word Shelah means a sprout or a stub . There again we have a typical picture of the condition of the nation of Israel in the present day.

THE CHURCH AGE

We will not go into this in detail. But I would suggest that when you have time, you read chapters 9, 10, and 11 of the book of Romans, which give you the past, the present, and the future condition of the nation of Israel. If you read chapter 11 carefully, you will find that as far as God is concerned, the nation of Israel is at the moment the stub of the broken tree. God has grafted in the Gentiles as wild olive branches, and it is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, a Gentile institution, which is bearing fruit today. But Paul, of course, indicates that that will not always be the case. As the wild branches were grafted in, they will be cut out again, and the Jews will come back into prominence once more. But for the moment they are not as prominent as they once were.

We are going to skip the rest of this chapter except the last paragraph, where we find a reference to the birth of twin boys whose names are significant from a typical and a prophetic standpoint.

PROPHECY OF TRIBULATION

You will notice in verse 27:

Genesis 38:

27And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
28And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
29And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
30And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

So two boys were born at the end of the chapter. One of them was named Pharez and the other was named Zerah , these names being significant from a typical standpoint.

The name Pharez is well chosen, because it means breach . We know that at the end of this age, in the period commonly referred to as the tribulation, the Jews are going to come back into prominence. But there are going to be very definitely two divisions of them. There is going to be one division that will ally itself with the Antichrist and become apostates, and become even greater persecutors than the Pharisees and the Sadducees were in the days of Christ. They are going to make a breach with the rest of the nation of Israel.

Then there is going to be another group, a group of people of whom Daniel speaks, who will shine as the brightness of the firmament because they will firmly take their stand for the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, even at the risk of becoming martyred at the hand of the Antichrist. It seems a fitting thing, then, that the last child to be born in this chapter should be named Zerah , which means shining light .

That is all we will say about chapter 38, because as I have suggested to you, it does not lend itself readily to discussion in a public meeting.

SOLD INTO EGYPT

Let me run over briefly what is in chapter 39, and then I would like to go over it with you to notice how Joseph becomes a type of Christ. You will remember that Joseph had been placed in the pits by his brothers because some of them did not want him murdered, and he was taken out of the pits and sold to the Ishmeelites as they came by.

The Ishmeelites carried Joseph down into Egypt and sold him into the house of Potiphar, one of the officials of the land of Egypt. He had not been very long in the house of Potiphar until he found grace in the eyes of this Egyptian and everything in the house of Potiphar was turned over to him. Because he was who he was, God blessed the house of Potiphar.

BLESSING THROUGH REMAINING TRUE TO GOD

Everything looked as if it was going to run along smoothly. But not for long because Joseph was the object of the hatred of Satan. In the house of Potiphar was an idle woman who looked upon Joseph and thought he was attractive to the eye. She did everything that she could to bring about his downfall. But Joseph, in contrast to Judah, obeyed the call of the Spirit of God instead of the call of the flesh, and maintained his testimony. But as we have learned in many other instances, there is no fury like the fury of a woman scorned, so Potiphar's wife tricked her husband and the servants of her husband's household into thinking that Joseph had done the thing which she had tried to get him to do and which, by the grace of God, he had refused to do. As a result, Joseph was placed in prison.

But He had not been in prison long until he had complete charge of everything in the prison. The blessing of God rested upon him. While he was in prison he became the interpreter of dreams had by two different individuals. Both of the interpretations were found to be exactly true, and those correct interpretations eventually resulted in the release of Joseph from prison, as we will find in chapter 40.

That is a brief survey of what is in chapter 39, and we presented it to you so that it would not be necessary for us to read the chapter.

CHARACTERISTICS OF JOSEPH WHICH TYPIFY JESUS

I would like for you to let me point out to you some of the characteristics of Joseph which are typical of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The first thing I would like for you to notice with me is found in verse 1, where we read:

Genesis 39:

1And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

The first thing that is brought to our attention in this chapter is that Joseph became a servant. That is the first thing that is brought to our attention in the Gospels concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. He came to be the servant of all.

If you will look at verse 4 you will find:

Genesis 39:

4And Joseph found grace in his sightthat of his master, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

Here again we find a parallel. Just as Joseph pleased his master, our Lord Jesus Christ pleased His Master, His Father. You will remember what God said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” (Matthew 17:5).

When you have time, read carefully chapter 3 of the book of Hebrews, where a parallel is drawn between Christ as the head over His house and Moses as the head over his house. Just as Joseph had everything turned over to him because he was well-pleasing to his master, so the Lord Jesus Christ had everything turned over to Him because He was pleasing to His master, and a very natural thing occurred. Joseph became a blessing to others because he was who he was. Look at verse 5:

Genesis 39:

5And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

All of us know that we have the blessings we have because of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God reminds us that He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ. The Word of God reminds us that with the Lord Jesus Christ He has freely given us all things.

Then you will notice in the paragraph which begins with verse 6 and goes through verse 13, the temptation of Joseph is described in detail for us. Here again we have an exact parallel. No sooner had the Lord Jesus Christ begun His ministry than He, too, faced temptation. It is an interesting thing to me, though the temptation was different, that just as Joseph was tempted three times, the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted three times while He was in the wilderness. Joseph again becomes an interesting type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our types do not always have to compare. Sometimes our types become antitypes, to illustrate spiritual truths. There is one antitypical significance in this particular verse, if you will keep in mind that the only way Joseph had to resist the evil one was to flee. But the Lord Jesus Christ resisted the Devil by commanding him to flee from Him, and that he did, of course.

I mentioned to you what happened because Joseph refused to comply with the request of Potiphar's wife…he was falsely accused. So it was with the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice in verse 18:

Genesis 39:

18And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.

Joseph was falsely accused by one who hated him. Our Lord Jesus Christ was falsely accused in exactly the same way. There was not one shred of evidence that even those who were in authority could believe.

SENTENCED TO PUNISHMENT

I think it is a significant thing that Potiphar did not believe what his wife said, because he did not take the life of Joseph, which was the ordinary thing to do. But he could not ignore what his wife said without admitting the kind of person she was, and fear would not permit him to do that, so he cast Joseph into prison.

Do you not notice in this an exact parallel between Potiphar and Pilate? You will remember the story in the Gospels how convinced Pilate was that there was no fault at all in the Lord Jesus Christ. So convinced was he that he publicly washed his hands in water, thinking that that would eliminate all of his responsilbility. He said, “I find no fault in this man.” But because the pressure of his position was what it was, he found it necessary to sentence the Lord Jesus Christ to death. Because Potiphar was in the position that he was, there was no choice, even though he was not convinced that Joseph was guilty, but to sentence him to prison.

NOT SPEAKING IN OWN DEFENSE

Another parallel in all of this: We do not hear Joseph saying one thing. Have you noticed that? He did not open his mouth to say one thing. He did not try to explain the situation at all. Here again he becomes a permanent, practical illustration of the Savior, in that when the Lord Jesus Christ was led before His accusers, He opened not His mouth. When He was reviled, He reviled not again.

Joseph, then, was in prison, and the first thing we notice about him in verse 21 was that even though his friends, those who knew him best, had no confidence in him, he was given favor in the sight of the authorities.

Genesis 39:

21But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Do you see another parallel of spiritual truth here? Are you remembering the crucifixion story? Do you remember who it was that gave testimony that Jesus Christ was the Son of the living God? It was the centurion, was it not? It was one in authority who cried out, “Surely, this man is the Son of God.”

BEING PLACED WITH TWO TRANSGRESSORS

Going on into chapter 40, which describes for us the prison experience of Joseph, the first thing that attracts our attention is that he was placed with two transgressors. Not three, not four, but two! One of them was a butler and one was a baker. Again we see a parallel. The Lord Jesus Christ was numbered with two transgressors.

Here again, if we pursue this a little bit further, we will find that Joseph becomes an exact replica of the Lord Jesus Christ. The words of Joseph in this chapter meant life for one man and death for another. Did you notice that? When these two men came to Joseph with their dreams…dreams were very significant in the minds of the Egyptians…the butler told him his dream. Joseph said, “That means that in three days you will be standing back at your old job in the palace of the king. You were put here to die, but you are not going to die. You are going to begin life anew. You are going to have a new lease on life.”

Is that not what happened to the thief who was crucified by the side of the Lord Jesus Christ? The Savior said to him, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

The baker had an entirely different dream, and Joseph did not mince words with him. He said, “It means that in the same length of time you will be dead.” Is that not exactly what happened to the other transgressor who was crucified with the Lord Jesus Christ? One had a message of life, and the other had a message of death.

REQUEST TO BE REMEMBERED IS NEGLECTED

Then there is another very interesting thing as we draw this typical portion of the lesson to a close…a very interesting thing in what Joseph said to the butler:

Genesis 40:

14But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:

Boiled down in simple words, what Joseph said was, “Remember me. Do not forget me.” I wish the story was different, but we have to look at verse 23 of chapter 40 where we find the sad words:

Genesis 40:

23Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

When the Lord Jesus Christ left this earth…stop and think with me for a moment and you will find that this statement I am about to make is true…He made only one request. That is all! He gave a command, but commands are different from requests. Commands are to be obeyed whether you want to obey them or not. Commands are to be obeyed whether you think you can obey them or not. There is no volition related to commands. They are to be obeyed.

Christ made only one request, and that was that we would remember Him. He gave us the ordinance of the remembrance of the Lord's Supper. “As oft as ye do this,” He said, “do it in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 23:24).

I do not want to overdraw the picture, or to suggest that your remembrance of the Lord will be necessarily related to the number of times you sit down at the Lord's table. But I want to make a broader application than that, though I think what I have just said should be considered.

REMEMBERING JESUS WILL CHANGE OUR LIVES

I want to make a wider application, and to suggest to you that the request, the only request that the Savior made before He left this earth, we have neglected. We have not complied with it very well. The same thing that was said concerning the butler and Joseph's request can be said concerning us and the Savior's request. Very few of us are remembering Him.

That is the reason, when the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and wanted to give him a very brief word of advice, he said, “Remember Jesus Christ.” I want to suggest to you that if we would remember Him every minute of our conscious existence, our lives would have to be different. If in every emergency of life we would remember Him, our outlook on that emergency would be different. If in every decision we make we would remember Jesus Christ, our outlook would not be the same.

I would like to point out to you some of the practical lessons found in chapter 39 of the book of Genesis that are chosen by the Holy Spirit to be brought to our attention in other portions of the Word of God.

Will you turn with me, please, to Psalm 105. Here the Holy Spirit of God is pleased to take this experience in the life of Joseph and to make special mention of it, that we might have a practical application of a very precious truth:

GOD PLANS FOR HIS CHILD

Psalms 105:

16Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

This is an actual famine upon the earth. When you get over to chapters 41 and 42 of Genesis, you are going to find out just how widespread that famine was. It was over the face of the whole earth. Men looked upon it and thought it was due to drought, poor management, just hard times. But the Spirit of God reminds us here that God caused the famine upon the land: “he brake the whole staff of bread.” The Holy Spirit is making a point here. He wants to remind you that if you are God's child, nothing happens to you by accident. God orders the affairs of your life. God ordered this famine. That is what He said. He called for a famine upon the land.

Psalms 105:

17He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

The word them is a reference to His chosen people. Do you see what we are reading? God ordered a famine, but He was not going to neglect His own people. He was going to make provision. Here is the amazing thing to me. He made this provision over a period of time. He was preparing for an event that had not yet occurred. He sent Joseph into the land of Egypt before the Israelites so that when the Israelites came into the land of Egypt, preparation would have been made for them.

I believe, and I think that it can be amply shown in the Word of God, that though we are unconscious of it, God is making preparation for every new event in our lives. We speak about the unknown. There is no such thing in the life of a Christian. It may be unknown to you at the moment, but when you walk through the door marked unknown , you will find that God has been there before you. God has made the preparations. The stage is set, and all you need to do is to fit into the picture.

PREPARATION IS NOT ALWAYS PLEASANT

Here is something that we do not particularly like, but we must face it. The preparation is not always pleasant. But if we could remember that the preparation was for a purpose, then it would become more endurable.

THE SUFFERING OF JOSEPH

You will notice verse 17:

Psalms 105:

17…Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
18Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

Is it not interesting that you do not find anything in the chapter in Genesis about the suffering of Joseph in prison? Do you remember how it sounded when we read it? He was put in prison, and it sounded as if right away the people of the prison welcomed him with open arms and he was sitting on the front row. For a while he was in fetters of iron. For a while they hurt him physically.

Turn with me to the Acts of the Apostles and notice another commentary of the Holy Spirit on this very thing that we are talking about in relation to Joseph. In the speech by Stephen as he reviews the history of the nation of Israel, he says in verse 9:

Acts 7:

9And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
10And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

The phrase that I want you to notice here is, “he delivered him out of all his afflictions.” Joseph suffered. Before he got to the palace he had to go through the prison. That was his preparation. If you are a thinking person, you will see that that is true for many of us.

Turn back to Psalms 105. Verse 19, it seems to me, is the real explanation of Joseph's affliction. Physical afflictions are never pleasant, but they are very bearable. I think if you had to weigh emotional afflictions with physical afflictions, you would agree that physical afflictions are bearable. But emotional affliction, if it is very deep, is almost unendurable. Here was the affliction that Joseph went through.

Psalms 105:

19Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

Very literally rendered, that verse is, “Until the time that the promises to Joseph were fulfilled, the Word of the Lord tried him.”

GOD'S PROMISES TO JOSEPH

Go back with me now to the book of Genesis, and keep in mind that God had given to Joseph some very definite promises. He told Joseph that not only would he be a ruler, but that all of his brothers would bow down to him. Do you not imagine that when his brothers cast him into the pit and in anguish he cried out to them for help and they ignored him, the Devil slipped up alongside him and said, “Joseph, where are the promises of God now? God promised you would be a ruler, but here you are in an old, wet hole in the ground. That is the way God keeps His promises.”

If you have ever had any experiences like that, you know that it is the hardest thing in the world to bear…to know in your own heart that God has told you something and yet to have everything be absolutely contrary to what He said.

There Joseph was in Potiphar's house, afraid. The Devil whispered in his ear again, and then suddenly he was made keeper of all that Potiphar had. Remember, Joseph was very human, and he would smile and say to himself, God is going to fulfill His promise.” He took a great big breath of relief and the weight of the world rolled off his shoulders…and he found himself in prison again.

Have you had experiences like that? God gave you a promise and then it did not look as if He was going to fulfill it. Then it did look as if He was going to fulfill it. It is so easy to believe God, is it not, when it looks as if He is keeping His word…so easy to believe Him. But there you are back in prison again. Do you not know it was difficult for him?

BELIEVING GOD DURING TRIALS

That is what the Holy Spirit is talking about in Psalm 105 when it says that the Word of the Lord tried him. The Word of the Lord did try him, because he had to believe God whether circumstances were conducive or not. Do you know the thing that made it bearable for Joseph? Do you know the thing that made it possible for him to go on without complaining? He was conscious of the presence of God. He was never without the assurance that God was with him. More than four times in chapter 39 is the phrase found, “The Lord was with Joseph.” Joseph was conscious of the presence of the Lord.

I have expressed that in a slightly different manner when I have suggested to you that the important thing in your life and mine is always to know that you are in the center of God's will. Settle that once and for all. Are you in the center of God's will? Are you? I do not know, but you can know. If you are in the center of God's will, then let that be your anchor, and no matter what may occur that seems to the contrary, hold fast to the anchor. You are in the center of God's will. The Lord is with you, and no matter what happens, no matter how many stumbling blocks the Devil puts in your way, remember you are in the center of God's will.

HOW WE SHOULD RESPOND TO TEMPTATION

Because Joseph was conscious of that…that he was in the center of God's will…he came through the test in Potiphar's house that would certainly have defeated men of lesser strength than he. The proposed seduction of Joseph by Potiphar's wife gives a perfect illustration of how we all ought to respond to any temptation or to any weakness. Will you notice with me Joseph's reaction to the temptation, in chapter 39, verse 8:

Genesis 39:

8But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
9There 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?

He made his refusal, which was a definite act. He made his refusal. There was not any thinking, “Shall I or shall I not?” As soon as the matter was presented to him he said, “That is out for me.”

Will you make that application to many, many more circumstances than a mere matter of adultery, and recognize that that is the only way you are going to have victory. Refuse.

JOSEPH'S REASONS FOR REFUSAL

I want you to notice that his refusal was tremendously practical. It was not just a matter of wishing it to be so. He made his refusal on the basis of three things. He said, “I owe a debt of gratitude to Potiphar, and if for no other reason I cannot have any part of it. I have a responsibility.”

Time will not allow me to elaborate on that, but any one of us, if we are the children of God, have a responsibility that should keep him from yielding to those things that detract from the glory of God and ruin His testimony. That responsibility is primarily to God, but that responsibility is to multitudes of others who have their eyes on us. We have no right to live our lives to ourselves.

He made his refusal secondly on the basis of the fact that he held some things sacred. He held the marriage vow sacred. He said to Potiphar's wife, “You belong to him.” One of the reasons that our society is in the sad shape it is in is that nothing is held sacred by most people.

The third thing that he emphasized, and this is by far the most important, was in his statement, “I cannot sin against God!” You see, Joseph had not drifted into the modern day philosophy that sin is not sin…sin is a mistake, sin is a weakness. He said, “I cannot begin to do this thing and sin against God.”

There were two other steps in his victory over temptation. First, there was the refusal, as I have suggested to you, and then there was the matter of his association. He not only refused to comply with her request, he refused to even be with her. He kept as far away from her as he possibly could.

DO NOT BE ASHAMED TO AVOID SIN

Do not be ashamed to refuse to have anything to do with sin. I emphasize constantly that it is the responsibility of Christian parents to train their children in a Christian atmosphere. More times than not someone will come to me and say, “Of course you know, Brother Temple, that your children will not be prepared to meet the world if you train them in a Christian atmosphere and then suddenly they are shoved out into the world. They will go to pieces.” They say, “Of course you have heard that most children ruin their lives because their lives have been too sheltered at home. What you need to do is to let your children know what is going on in the world, and let them share in the evils of the world, and then they will be able to live in a world that is full of sin.”

Joseph did not believe that, and he said he was going to stay away from sin as far as he could. Sometimes I am not particularly mindful whether I am rude or not, and I say to these people, “You know, I do not have to drag my children through the sewer to let them see how nasty it is. All I need to do is take them out to the sewer farm when the wind is in the right direction.” Joseph said, “I am going to stay as far away from evil as I can.” He not only said that, you will notice, when he could not help it, when it was out of his control and he had to be where the sin was, but in the last part of verse 12, he fled. He ran as fast as he could away from the evil.

NOT NECESSARY TO YIELD TO TEMPTATION

I Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 13, says:

I Corinthians 10:

13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

A man of God who lived in another century said, “I have discovered that a great many times the way of escape is a good pair of legs!” Sometimes the best thing to do is to run! That is why Paul gave Timothy that advice.

Whatever your temptation might be, and I would like to remind you that you have it, read this paragraph again. You will find that this was a day by day temptation that Joseph had. But remember, whatever your temptation is, you do not need to yield.


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