TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Genesis 39:6-10
Humans are master manipulators. We make decisions that have the veneer of decency and honor, but are driven beneath the surface by self-serving agendas. The world is full of opportunists who are out to advance their social standing. So it’s refreshing when someone does something simply because it’s the right thing to do. Stories of people behaving righteously grab our attention because they inspire us to do the right thing regardless of negative consequences. It is this kind of behavior that we find in a short vignette from the life of the Biblical figure Joseph.
As a result of the cruel treatment of his jealous brothers (and by the providence of God), Joseph winds up in Egypt, far away from his family and homeland. He finds himself in the house of Potiphar, who is an official of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. God’s presence causes him to be successful even in a strangle place. This catches the attention of Potiphar, who elevates Joseph to overseer of his household. But Joseph’s success is at risk of being undone by none other than Potiphar’s wife, who wants Joseph to sleep with her. Day after day, she persists in her brazen request: “Lie with me.”
Thankfully, Joseph resists her advances. He does so for two reasons. First, sleeping with this woman would dishonor his master, Potiphar. Joseph says to her, “Because of me, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife” (Genesis 39:8-9). The second (and most important) reason Joseph says no is because saying yes would dishonor his God. He asks the temptress, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Joseph makes this decision not because it benefits him. It doesn’t. Sadly, Joseph is punished for his righteous behavior instead of rewarded. Potiphar’s wife lies about Joseph, and Potiphar throws him in prison, where he spends the next several years of his life. In the short term, Joseph sees no positive results from making this righteous decision. But his story is not even close to being over. God remains with him and rewards him in the future for living righteously. Because he chose to honor God, God eventually honors him. That’s the way it works with us too.
Today I will…do the right thing regardless of negative consequences. I will do the right thing because living righteously is the best way to live this life. I will do the right thing because God is honored when I do, and because He rewards those who choose to live righteously.