“He wouldn’t do it. He said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master doesn’t give a second thought to anything that goes on here—he’s put me in charge of everything he owns. He treats me as an equal. The only thing he hasn’t turned over to me is you. You’re his wife, after all! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?”
“She pestered him day after day after day, but he stood his ground. He refused to go to bed with her.”
Genesis 39:9-10, MSG
Joseph is a blazing star in the Old Testament. Everything he does is remarkable. He carries this exceptionalism into all that he does, or directs. He realizes the blessing he has been given. He can easily describe his status– and he is quite aware of the deep presence that overshadows his life. He will not pretend that any of this has come about as a result of his personal giftedness or goodness.
Joseph refuses to negotiate, for he knows who he is, exactly. First, he is not Potiphar. He cannot make it seem otherwise. The amazing things that have come upon Potiphar’s life, belong to him, and him alone. Joseph has a sure understanding of this fact, and he does not try to blur the issues, no matter how “sweet and cute” the possibilities. He just says “no!”
When we look to Joseph, we find that he has retreated into a special place of protection. For a man, there is a deep attraction for sexual conquest and pleasure. Joseph has processed this, way before us. And he is not enticed by this lie. (And my friend, it is a lie.)
Joseph is a wonder. He is full of grace and a certain goodness. From him, we can fully understand a heart that is set apart by an exceptional sweetness. Joseph has a certain kindness and goodness. He responds to all that is evil, with a greatness, and a complete awareness of what is right.
In our scriptural selection, we see clearly the effort that the wife of Potiphar’s wife made to seduce Joseph. However, her lust will not direct his life. He will not give in to his deep desires. He simply refuses to enter into the seduction issues of an out-of-control passion. He won’t be controlled by lust.
When we look directly at Joseph, we see a man who has chosen a deep path of faithfulness. He has separated himself from a difficult darkness. He now is a real and definite example for us who must endure a deep testing of our own. The darkness we face is especially crafty and exceptionally black. We can only really trust in His promise to cover and sustain us. And to learn to say no!