Scripture: 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
Observation: Chapter 39 onward covers the rest of Joseph’s life in the land of Egypt, as well as the reunification of his family of origin. His story begins with a rapid rise to head steward under Potipher’s command, with the author emphasizing the means of Joseph’s success: our Lord. Indeed, even the pagan Potipher understood Joseph’s God “caused all that he did to succeed in his hands” (39:3). Thus, he promoted Joseph to the overseer of all his personal affairs of his house and fields. And because Joseph was “handsome in form and appearance” (39:6), Potipher’s entitled wife developed an obsession with Joseph and ongoingly solicited sexual favors. But Joseph wisely stated upfront that he would not betray his master (who had demonstrated trust in him). Moreover, he would not commit this “great wickedness and sin against God” (above verse).
Takeaway: When we commit sins against others, we first and foremost commit sins against God. Even the later Pharaoh, Ramses II, who tortured Israel, confessed to Moses that he had sinned against Moses’ God (Exodus 10:16). And the list goes on, whether the nation of Israel rebelling against Moses in the desert wandering (Deuteronomy 1:14, 9:16), Achen invoking God’s wrath on his compatriots (Joshua 7:20), King David failing to heed Joab’s warning (1 Chronicles 21:17), or Daniel praying on behalf of God’s exiled people (Daniel 9:11). And in each instance, the process of seeking forgiveness begins with our Lord. Otherwise, any attempt to obtain forgiveness and reconciliation from others will fall short, for if the Lord is not in the process, whatever superficial results we may see will not last. Indeed, the only lasting forgiveness and transformation of the heart came at the cost of the Cross of Christ.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for bringing enduring forgiveness through the life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Would you please help us cooperate with your Holy Spirit when he convicts us of sinning against others, that we might be quick to agree and first seek your forgiveness before we turn toward those we have harmed? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
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