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Genesis 39 – Fleeing Temptation
Read Genesis Chapter 39 (not 38 – we’ll get to that one later)
As we move along in this study, we discover that which is meant for evil, God uses for good. Joseph was sold by his brothers, which by all accounts was a ticket to slavery. It meant that his life would be met with hardship as he was destitute and alone. But the Bible tells us that “the Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered.”
His circumstances weren’t a result of coincidence, luck, or chance—they were finely tuned by the orchestration of God. Every high and low was designed with purpose, and whether he felt like God was beside him or not—He was at work behind the curtain of everyday life bringing forth purpose through pain.
Many would say, as fortune would have it, Joseph found his way into Potiphar’s house. But we know better than that as the sovereignty of God leaves no room for chance. Joseph was in Potiphar’s house by divine intervention and found favor in the eyes of his master because God ordained it to be.
But here’s the thing: while you might be in the exact place God wants you to be, there’s a good chance that you’ll also be tested and tried. Joseph passed the test of temptation, which is what really defines this part of his story. It’s not merely the idea that God blessed him that grabs our attention, it’s the fact that he was obedient to God both in good times and bad.
Joseph could have had anything he wanted. The NIV says, “he was well built and handsome.” He had a prestigious job and the respect of his peers, but there was one thing off limits to him, and that was Potiphar’s wife.
When temptation comes—and I assure you, it will—will you remain faithful to God? Will you deny yourself and take up your cross, or will you give in to the pain?
Temptation is like a constant itch that yearns to be scratched day in and day out. In fact, Verse 10 tells us that Potiphar’s wife tempted him day after day. And so, it’s important that we pick up our cross and keep picking it up. But what does that mean?
A sacrificial life begins in our hearts and our minds. It’s about the choices we make to follow God’s will in lieu of our own. It’s a conscious decision to deny sinful thoughts before they lead to destruction. It’s resisting temptation before it takes root.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV)
We see a parallel here to the life of Christ. Remember the week before His crucifixion? Life was appealing and warm. We read about his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as crowds of onlookers laid down their garments, waved branches in the air, and hailed him as king. We see a temptation presented to him: hold on tight to this world, and turn your back on God’s plan. Despite the lure of temptation, He chose to lay down His life, and pick up His cross.
Jesus wasn’t naïve. He knew the scriptures, and how Isaiah said, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” He knew he would suffer—He knew he would die, and yet He still chose to follow God’s will.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8, KJV)
What we see in both Christ and a bit further on in the life of Joseph, is that obedience propelled them to a place of honor in which they were exalted above men. And so, if there’s one thing we can learn from faithfulness, it’s this: “God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggles, and a reward for your faithfulness” (unknown)
5 Ways to Resist Temptation
- Recognize sin when you see it lurking. Don’t toy with it.
- Flee temptation as soon as you realize that you are being drawn away.
- Study the Bible regularly so that you are equipped to destroy the lies with truth.
- Pray, asking God to take the temptation away, and if possible confide in a friend who will lift you up in prayer and keep you accountable.
- Keep a safe distance between you and those things or people that you view as a potential temptation.
Pause and Reflect
Are there any temptations or thoughts that are holding you back from serving the Lord? What should you do to change that?
Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against temptation. What are the 6 pieces of armour (let’s make that 7) found in Ephesians 6:10-18?
While Joseph’s life drastically changed from the beginning of this chapter to the end, one thing remained the same. What is it? (See verses 2 & 23)
Verse 12 tells us that Joseph “fled” from Potiphar’s house leaving his garment behind. What might his example teach us about dealing with temptation?
What warning and advice does 1 Peter 5:8-9 give us about temptation and faithfulness?
Closing Prayer – Resisting Temptation
Dear Heavenly Father,
Forgive me, and cleanse me from sin.
Please sharpen my conscience as I read and study Your Word. Teach me to discern right from wrong. Help me to keep Your truth in my heart so that I don’t sin against You.
I ask that You would guide me and lead me away from temptation. Give me the strength to flee when I must. Protect me from the lure of sin, and direct my steps toward righteousness.
Purify my heart as I bring it into obedience to Your will.
Obedience isn’t always the most comfortable choice, and so I ask that You give me the courage I need to choose well.
Grant me the strength to fight against sin and the faith to follow Your voice.
In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Genesis 40 – Reliance In Suffering
Read Genesis Chapter 40
God uses disappointments to teach us. He uses brokenness to rebuild us and low places to lift us.
Charles Spurgeon writes, “Whenever God means to make a man great, he always breaks him in pieces first.”
The way to the mountain is through the valley: for its only through temptation we learn faithfulness; through poverty we find contentment; and in sorrow and pain we discover compassion. If we hope to be strong, we must first be reliant.
My favorite Bible verse from Ephesians 3:20 says that He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (KJV)
It reminds me that Someone much greater than me is at work in my life: Someone Who knows every step that I take; Someone Who holds my future in one hand and His plan in another; Someone Who is able to take that future and mold it into something much greater than I could ever imagine. Someone Who has my best interests at heart. While the waiting, reliance, and trusting may not always make sense to my limited understanding of God, I’m still trusting in His unfailing grace.
It’s easy to trust when we’re in on God’s plan—when we see the next step and understand His direction. What’s not so easy is an uncertain future and a hidden agenda.
There he was in the dungeon at Potiphar’s house. His life had been a roller coaster up to this point, with the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, and there he was again at a low point in his life wondering what his future entailed.
Have you ever faced an opportunity that seemed hopeful, until it fell through? I’ve been there. I think we’ve all been there—hopeful, optimistic, excited… and then just as quickly as the opportunity came, it left, leaving a trail of disappointment behind.
Remember the Proverbs 31 woman? We’re told that “she laughs without fear of the future.” It’s not because she’s aware of the future and is bold enough to face it, although maybe at times she is. The thing is, none of us really know what tomorrow holds, and when we think we do, we’re usually wrong. She laughs at the future, because she’s reliant on God.
Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” That’s where we see Joseph in this story—devising his way.
The king’s own cupbearer and baker were placed into custody in the house of “the captain of the guard.” Now remember, we’re told in Chapter 39 that Potiphar was the captain of the guard. So, we can assume that this prison was likely below Potiphar’s house in some sort of dungeon. Joseph had gone from being in charge of the house to living below it.
We see God blessing him yet again as he’s put in charge of the prisoners. It wasn’t a prestigious job by any means, in fact, he was still a prisoner living in captivity, but now there was a glimmer of hope—he had a friend on the outside—the king’s personal cupbearer. Would this be his ticket to freedom? Was this his way out? Sadly, the chapter ends on a bleak note for Joseph as it reads, “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” NIV.
Looking to Christ, I see parallels in this chapter to that of the Crucifixion account. Joseph has two companions with him at this point, just as Jesus had one to his right and one to his left. In Genesis 40, we see that one is condemned to death while the other will be restored to the king’s palace.
And, in a similar manner, the thief on the cross says to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
And Jesus responds, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Notice that one is a baker, and the other a cupbearer. The dream of the vine with the three branches can be compared to John 15:5 where Jesus said, I am the vine. This vine, with the branches and the fruit thereon, is a reflection of His blood that was poured out for us. This dream symbolized justification through faith in the blood which led him to life.
The other dream represents justification by works leading to death. The man had three baskets of bread on his head. Work upon works were offered to His master, yet, there was no faith in the blood of the coming Messiah. There’s also the question of leaven. Was any of the bread leavened? If so, that might also indicate sin as leaven represents sin in the Bible.
Finally, remember, there were three days and three nights between the death of Christ and His resurrection. This is illustrated in the story of Joseph as there are three days between the interpretation of the dream and the exit of the prisoners.
Pause and Reflect
Consider some of the trials you’ve faced over the years. How did God bring you through them?
List 5 reasons that God allows us to suffer:
- See 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
- See Romans 5:3-5
- See 1 Peter 1:6-7
- See Philippians 3:10
- Hebrews 12:7-10
After looking at these verses and reading this chapter, what words of encouragement would you offer a friend who is facing a disappointment or trial?
Disappointments happen when expectations are crushed. What does James 4:13-15 teach us about expectations?
Closing Prayer – Teach Me to Lean
Dear Heavenly Father,
Lord, I know that you’re the same faithful God you’ve always been—a God who’s blessed me before and will bless me again, but I need to be reminded of that some days, and so I ask You to help me to find peace and strength.
Be with me in the darkness, I pray. Stay close in the midst of my trials.
Grant me the strength to rejoice in my sorrow knowing that the trying of my faith builds patience and hope.
Teach me to lean on Your strength as I trust in Your unfailing grace.
In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
This Week’s Challenge
Keep your eye out for some of the temptations creeping in your life. Refer to the list of “5 Ways to Resist Temptation” in lesson 2 and put them into practice.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV)
The Life of Joseph: A Type of Christ 6-Week Bible Study Journal available now @Amazon.com
Available now at Amazon.com
When you purchase a copy of the study guide you’re helping to support this ministry as we share the gospel with over 500,000 women around the world.
The Life of Joseph: Printable Version – Week Two
Note: This download is only for week two of the study. Come back next Monday for part 3. There are six parts in total. Click here to view and download this week’s lesson.
About the Author
Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.
She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.
It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.
Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.
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The Time-Warp Wife