Genesis 39

* Joseph preferred by Potiphar. (1-6) Joseph resists temptation.

(7-12) Joseph is falsely accused by his mistress. (13-18) He is

cast into prison, God is with him there. (19-23)

1-6 Our enemies may strip us of outward distinctions and

ornaments; but wisdom and grace cannot be taken from us. They

may separate us from friends, relatives, and country; but they

cannot take from us the presence of the Lord. They may shut us

from outward blessings, rob us of liberty, and confine us in

dungeons; but they cannot shut us out from communion with God,

from the throne of grace, or take from us the blessings of

salvation. Joseph was blessed, wonderfully blessed, even in the

house where he was a slave. God's presence with us, makes all we

do prosperous. Good men are the blessings of the place where

they live; good servants may be so, though mean and lightly

esteemed. The prosperity of the wicked is, one way or other, for

the sake of the godly. Here was a wicked family blessed for the

sake of one good servant in it.
7-12 Beauty either in men or women, often proves a snare both

to themselves and others. This forbids pride in it, and requires

constant watchfulness against the temptation that attends it. We

have great need to make a covenant with our eyes, lest the eyes

infect the heart. When lust has got power, decency, and

reputation, and conscience, are all sacrificed. Potiphar's wife

showed that her heart was fully set to do evil. Satan, when he

found he could not overcome Joseph with the troubles and the

frowns of the world, for in them he still held fast his

principle, assaulted him with pleasures, which have ruined more

than the former. But Joseph, by the grace of God, was enabled to

resist and overcome this temptation; and his escape was as great

an instance of the Divine power, as the deliverance of the three

children out of the fiery furnace. This sin was one which might

most easily beset him. The tempter was his mistress, one whose

favour would help him forward; and it was at his utmost peril if

he slighted her, and made her his enemy. The time and place

favoured the temptation. To all this was added frequent,

constant urging. The almighty grace of God enabled Joseph to

overcome this assault of the enemy. He urges what he owed both

to God and his master. We are bound in honour, as well as

justice and gratitude, not in any thing to wrong those who place

trust in us, how secretly soever it may be done. He would not

offend his God. Three arguments Joseph urges upon himself. 1. He

considers who he was that was tempted. One in covenant with God,

who professed religion and relation to him. 2. What the sin was

to which he was tempted. Others might look upon it as a small

matter; but Joseph did not so think of it. Call sin by its own

name, and never lessen it. Let sins of this nature always be

looked upon as great wickedness, as exceedingly sinful. 3.

Against whom he was tempted to sin, against God. Sin is against

God, against his nature and his dominion, against his love and

his design. Those that love God, for this reason hate sin. The

grace of God enabled Joseph to overcome the temptation, by

avoiding the temper. He would not stay to parley with the

temptation, but fled from it, as escaping for his life. If we

mean not to do iniquity, let us flee as a bird from the snare,

and as a roe from the hunter.
13-18 Joseph's mistress, having tried in vain to make him a

guilty man, endeavoured to be avenged on him. Those that have

broken the bonds of modesty, will never be held by the bonds of

truth. It is no new thing for the best of men to be falsely

accused of the worst of crimes, by those who themselves are the

worst of criminals. It is well there is a day of discovery

coming, in which all shall appear in their true characters.
19-23 Joseph's master believed the accusation. Potiphar, it is

likely, chose that prison, because it was the worst; but God

designed to open the way to Joseph's honour. Joseph was owned

and righted by his God. He was away from all his friends and

relations; he had none to help or comfort him; but the Lord was

with Joseph, and showed him mercy. Those that have a good

conscience in a prison, have a good God there. God gave him

favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison; he trusted him

to manage the affairs of the prison. A good man will do good

wherever he is, and will be a blessing even in bonds and

banishment. Let us not forget, through Joseph, to look unto

Jesus, who suffered being tempted, yet without sin; who was

slandered, and persecuted, and imprisoned, but without cause;

who by the cross ascended to the throne. May we be enabled to

follow the same path in submitting and in suffering, to the same

place of glory.
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