As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.
How did Mrs. Potiphar respond when Joseph refused to have sex with her? Did she say, “I’m sorry, Joseph. You’re right. Could we pray together?” Look at verse 10: “She spoke to Joseph day after day.” Day after day–that’s how temptation comes. When you say no to temptation and have a moment of great victory, don’t think that the temptation will never come into your life again. Satan doesn’t give up that easily. Temptation comes day after day.
Probably Mrs. Potiphar would say to him, “Joseph, come sit by me. My husband neglects me. I just need somebody to talk to.” Joseph knew the temptation would be too strong, so he chose not to be in the same room with her. Romans 13:14 says, “Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” If you are going to resist temptation, you have to be brutal. You cannot make an allowance for sin. If you want to live a holy life, you run as far and as fast from temptation as you can.
Yet even that wasn’t enough for Joseph. Look at verse 11: “Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside.” Mrs. Potiphar had a plan. “She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’” (v. 12). What did Joseph do? “He left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside” (v. 12). Joseph ran so far and so fast in the opposite direction that all Mrs. Potiphar had left in her hands was a piece of the coat he was wearing.
Now a great ending to that story would be Potiphar coming home and rewarding his faithful slave for resisting his wife’s seduction. But for Joseph, saying no to temptation resulted in incarceration. When Potiphar’s wife saw that Joseph had fled, “she called to the men of her household and said to them, ‘See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside’” (vv. 13–15). She worked out her cover story and waited for Potiphar to come home. When Potiphar heard the report that Joseph had tried to rape his wife, “his anger burned” (v. 19). Now he probably didn’t buy the story completely. If he had really thought Joseph tried to rape his wife, he would have delivered Joseph to the executioner–that was the normal punishment. I imagine Potiphar knew there were holes in his wife’s story, so he put Joseph in jail.
Once again, Joseph finds himself in the pit. But here is the difference. The first time Joseph was in the pit, it was because of his arrogance toward his brothers. Now Joseph was in prison because of his obedience to God. Yet God was still with Joseph. God was going to use this experience to prepare Joseph for another great event in his life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When Temptation Comes” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.