Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #6: No sin against God
Noble Baird | Community Center Director
Yesterday, we talked about trust. Arguably, it is one of the top three, if not the most, foundational part of any relationship. As I sit in Starbucks, I am reminded of this foundational characteristic. You see, four years ago I came on staff here at The River and had the privilege of doing an eight-month internship. During that time, I was joined by a young man named James Mann who I had never met but heard a lot about. Over the next eight months, James took on a summer internship here, and we were together pretty much every day. Whether we were cleaning toilets, arranging the storage in the warehouse on our maintenance Monday, or hanging out with the students at Fusion and accidentally breaking lights with a soccer ball (which we ended up having to fix), we were constantly serving and doing life together. Out of this, I gained not only a true partner in ministry but a friend who I call my brother.
Joseph makes a very pointed statement in Genesis 39:9. It was one that I read over several times, often thinking that the whole point of this passage was simply to focus on Joseph fleeing from sin and possible adultery. However, in verse 9 it reads, “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?” From a human standpoint, Joseph is literally facing a rock and a hard place as he seemingly has two options. He can either run from Potiphar’s wife and not sin against his master, or he can succumb to sin and not have his position as head of the household at stake. We know the outcome and how he does indeed run; however, him fleeing from temptation was bigger than just not sinning against his master, Potiphar. At the end of the passage, Joseph says, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Joseph’s relationship with his Heavenly Father, was way more important to him than his earthly stature and glory.
While I am writing this, James is sitting across from me getting things in order for our kids camp this summer, and yes he did order a massive milkshake from Starbucks. All kidding aside, we are never alone in this life and in the ministry that God has placed us. Paul had Barnabas, Elijah had Elisha, Peter had Mark, Moses had Aaron, and we could go on for quite a while naming off all the amazing duos in God’s Word. One continued common theme amongst them all was that of trust. It was through that foundational characteristic of trust that they pushed each other, encouraged one another, and challenged one another daily. As they did so, they understood this foundational truth of our faith as followers of Christ of not compromising our relationship with the Father and sinning against Him, just as Joseph proclaimed and understood.
So, as you finish up this week or maybe you are just beginning, remember these two truths that we see prevalent in the life of Joseph. He did not want to compromise his trust and relationship with those around him whose trust and respect he had gained. Yet, more importantly, he fled sin so that he would not sin against God. Never take those close friends for granted, keep them close, and never be afraid to challenge and encourage one another in Christ.