God Watches Over Joseph
Key Verse: “There 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?”
THE STORY OF JOSEPH’S life includes many lessons and examples for the Christian today. Upon his being sold to the Ishmeelites, Joseph was brought to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and a very wealthy man. The account says that “the Lord was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2), so much so that Potiphar also recognized that everything that Joseph did prospered.—vs. 3
Verses 4-6 of our lesson state that Joseph “found grace,” or favor, in the eyes of Potiphar. As a result, Potiphar made him an overseer of his house and all that he had. Since God was with Joseph, this meant that everything that Joseph oversaw for Potiphar prospered. “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.” So great became Potiphar’s trust of Joseph that he “left all that he had in Joseph’s hand,” sight unseen.
What a tremendous example Joseph is to us in this regard. As Christians, we, too, should be the most reliable and trusted people in the world as far as our earthly responsibilities are concerned. We should carry them out as unto the Lord, just as if we were serving him directly. If we so do, we, and those we serve, will receive a corresponding blessing, just as Potiphar did. The scriptural principle upon which God judges all our service, whether along spiritual or temporal lines, is shown in the words, “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”—Matt. 25:21
Verses 7-18 of our lesson next describe the evil scheme of Potiphar’s wife. Summarizing, she attempted to seduce Joseph and repeated her advances on several occasions. Each time Joseph refused, citing two important reasons. First, yielding to her advances would be a violation of his position as overseer of the house and a sin against his master Potiphar. Second, as stated in the Key Verse, committing such an act would be a sin against God. It is important to notice here that sin would have been committed against both Joseph’s earthly master and heavenly master. For us also, we should take note that immorality, like the improper carrying out of responsibilities along earthly and temporal lines, also signifies a lack of faithfulness to God. These earthly things are part of our stewardship, for which ultimately we must give account to God.
After one such advance by Potiphar’s wife, she took hold of a piece of Joseph’s garment (vs. 12), after which he fled the house. She showed it to the men of the house, and then to Potiphar. She falsely claimed that it was Joseph who had made an advance to her, and that only by her cries had he fled, leaving behind a piece of his garment. Not knowing that his wife had lied, Potiphar was angered at Joseph and put him into prison. (vs. 20) For the Christian, we also may be falsely accused of many things. Jesus reminds us to consider these experiences as blessings from him. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”—Matt. 5:11