I remember exactly the first time I ever heard someone teach from Genesis 39 – the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. I was in Junior High Youth Group and it changed my perspective on the Bible significantly at that time. I remember thinking – “Whoah. There is stuff like THIS in the Bible? Maybe I should read it more….”
Of course initially I just wanted to read more scintillating stories – but today when I read it, I realized something different. Joseph has an exceptional God-centered perspective. Joseph, as you recall, had been nearly killed by his brothers, and then sold into slavery by them. Nice, eh? Now he is in Egypt as a slave, but where is his perspective? On God. Verse 2 tells us that he was successful “because the Lord was with him” and in v4 that the Lord caused all he did to be successful. The first thing we realize here is that any success comes from the Lord, therefore he should receive all the glory.
But what about when things go from bad to worse? Joseph is a slave, in a foreign country…he is doing “well” as a slave, but still…then things go from bad to worse. We know that Potiphar’s wife has the hots for him, she tries to make the move but what is Joesph’s response? “He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9 ESV)
Joseph knows that when we choose sin, we primarily sin against God. Yes, others are involved and scripturally we are to confess our sins that we have done against others (James 5:16), but Joseph’s perspective is one to remember – above all, we offend God himself when we chose sin. Why? (1) Because he is 100% holy and perfect, sin is totally contrary to his nature and we should fight it in ourselves, all of it. (2) Because he calls us to love him with 100% of our being, (Matt 22:37-39) and when we chose sin, we are saying that we love our sin more than God.
Wouldn’t that change the way we look at sin? If we realized the weight of our sin, before a perfect God who calls us to find our satisfaction in him? Praise God for the grace that he gives us in Jesus – that through faith, our sins are removed the punishment for them absorbed by Jesus on the cross. We need to be quick to remember this perspective when faced with the choice to sin, and quick to remember the grace of Jesus and repent (turn) from that sin quickly and remember that all blessings, including forgiveness, are from our God.