Genesis 39* Joseph preferred by Potiphar. (1-6) Joseph resists temptation.(7-12) Joseph is falsely accused by his mistress. (13-18) He iscast into prison, God is with him there. (19-23)1-6 Our enemies may strip us of outward distinctions andornaments; but wisdom and grace cannot be taken from us. Theymay separate us from friends, relatives, and country; but theycannot take from us the presence of the Lord. They may shut usfrom outward blessings, rob us of liberty, and confine us indungeons; but they cannot shut us out from communion with God,from the throne of grace, or take from us the blessings ofsalvation. Joseph was blessed, wonderfully blessed, even in thehouse where he was a slave. God's presence with us, makes all wedo prosperous. Good men are the blessings of the place wherethey live; good servants may be so, though mean and lightlyesteemed. The prosperity of the wicked is, one way or other, forthe sake of the godly. Here was a wicked family blessed for thesake of one good servant in it. 7-12 Beauty either in men or women, often proves a snare bothto themselves and others. This forbids pride in it, and requiresconstant watchfulness against the temptation that attends it. Wehave great need to make a covenant with our eyes, lest the eyesinfect the heart. When lust has got power, decency, andreputation, and conscience, are all sacrificed. Potiphar's wifeshowed that her heart was fully set to do evil. Satan, when hefound he could not overcome Joseph with the troubles and thefrowns of the world, for in them he still held fast hisprinciple, assaulted him with pleasures, which have ruined morethan the former. But Joseph, by the grace of God, was enabled toresist and overcome this temptation; and his escape was as greatan instance of the Divine power, as the deliverance of the threechildren out of the fiery furnace. This sin was one which mightmost easily beset him. The tempter was his mistress, one whosefavour would help him forward; and it was at his utmost peril ifhe slighted her, and made her his enemy. The time and placefavoured the temptation. To all this was added frequent,constant urging. The almighty grace of God enabled Joseph toovercome this assault of the enemy. He urges what he owed bothto God and his master. We are bound in honour, as well asjustice and gratitude, not in any thing to wrong those who placetrust in us, how secretly soever it may be done. He would notoffend his God. Three arguments Joseph urges upon himself. 1. Heconsiders who he was that was tempted. One in covenant with God,who professed religion and relation to him. 2. What the sin wasto which he was tempted. Others might look upon it as a smallmatter; but Joseph did not so think of it. Call sin by its ownname, and never lessen it. Let sins of this nature always belooked upon as great wickedness, as exceedingly sinful. 3.Against whom he was tempted to sin, against God. Sin is againstGod, against his nature and his dominion, against his love andhis design. Those that love God, for this reason hate sin. Thegrace of God enabled Joseph to overcome the temptation, byavoiding the temper. He would not stay to parley with thetemptation, but fled from it, as escaping for his life. If wemean 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 aguilty man, endeavoured to be avenged on him. Those that havebroken the bonds of modesty, will never be held by the bonds oftruth. It is no new thing for the best of men to be falselyaccused of the worst of crimes, by those who themselves are theworst of criminals. It is well there is a day of discoverycoming, in which all shall appear in their true characters. 19-23 Joseph's master believed the accusation. Potiphar, it islikely, chose that prison, because it was the worst; but Goddesigned to open the way to Joseph's honour. Joseph was ownedand righted by his God. He was away from all his friends andrelations; he had none to help or comfort him; but the Lord waswith Joseph, and showed him mercy. Those that have a goodconscience in a prison, have a good God there. God gave himfavour in the sight of the keeper of the prison; he trusted himto manage the affairs of the prison. A good man will do goodwherever he is, and will be a blessing even in bonds andbanishment. Let us not forget, through Joseph, to look untoJesus, who suffered being tempted, yet without sin; who wasslandered, and persecuted, and imprisoned, but without cause;who by the cross ascended to the throne. May we be enabled tofollow the same path in submitting and in suffering, to the sameplace of glory.
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