May 01

Part 72: In the House of Temptation

Todd Pruitt |Series: Genesis |Genesis 39:1-23

The account of Joseph in Potiphar’s house begins with great promise. Joseph the slave proves to be a man of great integrity. Therefore, he gains great responsibility and influence in the household of this powerful Egyptian. Joseph’s decency, integrity, and godliness will be in evidence throughout the account of his life.

But the notes of encouragement playing sweetly at the beginning of the chapter turn to a harsh repetition of calamity as the events unfold. Nevertheless, despite the temptations and tragedies which befall Joseph, the narrative “perfectly expresses God’s quiet control and the man of faith’s quiet victory. The good seed is buried deeper, still to push upward; the servant, faithful in a little, trains for authority in much” (Kidner, 189).

As is so often the case in Scripture, this account from Joseph’s early days in Egypt bear witness to the sovereign providence of God. The contrast is vast between Joseph the slave and mighty Egypt. And yet the great empire bends in obedience to the decree of Almighty God. Even Pharaoh will ultimately and unwittingly come to serve the purposes of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Lord defies all of man’s pretentions of control.

It is of special significance that the presence of God with Joseph is mentioned no fewer than four times. Twice we are told that God is with Joseph during his rise to prominence in Potiphar’s house. That much seems to make immediate sense to us. And yet even after Joseph falls victim to the wickedness of Potiphar’s wife and pays dearly for her deceit we are told yet again that God was with him. His calamity was not evidence of the absence of God. Indeed, in the house of temptation and the prison of injustice, God was with Joseph just as he has promise to never forsake any of his beloved people.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie 

My strength, all sufficient, shall be thy supply 

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand 

Upheld by My righteous omnipotent hand. 

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