Who doesn’t want more favor?
I love the Capitol 1 Credit card commercials with Jimmy Fallon. In only the way Jimmy can do he says, “who doesn’t want more cash.” Everybody does, except for that naughty little girl who always throws the cash back in his face – silly girl. The same could be said of Favor with God, “Who doesn’t want more favor with God?” Joseph in Genesis 39 sure had it. Notice what it said in our reading today in v. 23… “the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Who doesn’t want that?
However, you may have noticed a pattern in the Biblical characters that had the most favor with God. They were ones, while certainly not perfect, who walked with God, and sought to follow him. Joseph walked in unprecedented integrity before God, and was raised to an almost unprecedented level – the second most powerful person in the whole world. There is no way a young Hebrew farm boy from Canaan, would ever have rose to such a place without the favor of God. Particularly because Hebrew People, in general were detestable to the Egyptians (see ch. 43:32).
So what led to such amazing favor from God. Certainly it was God’s grace and purposes being lived out. However, I am convinced that Joseph had a big part in it – he was a young man of extraordinary integrity, and therefore God intrusted him with extraordinary responsibility.
Joseph’s struggle with Potiphar’s wife is a classic example of how to overcome temptation and live with integrity. The story is a great example of how temptation works. Temptation doesn’t so much hit us when we are strong, but when we are weak. Think of all the excuses Joseph could have used to give in to temptation – my family has rejected me, God has not protected me, I am all alone, who will ever find out, everybody else is doing it, I deserve a little somethin’ somethin’, why not? Instead of just giving in, Joseph gives us an amazing example of how to battle temptation. 1) He just says no to sin. He simply refused, and acknowledged that his master had entrusted him with a job, and he was going to do it, and no way am I going to sin against God (v. 8)! 2) He didn’t even go near the temptation. Notice what it says in v. 10, “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.” He kept himself as far as he could from the temptation. He didn’t toy with it, or give it any room to grow. 3) He stuck with his convictions no matter what. His integrity and honesty ultimately cost him his job, and had him unjustly thrown into prison.
The good news is that God didn’t forget his integrity. God ultimately rewarded it with great favor, and great responsibility. The pathway to God’s favor often leads through challenge, temptation, and courage to do what is right. God doesn’t forget and will reward us in this life, or the next.
What about you and me?
Reading this scripture caused me to reflect on my own life. Is there anything that might be hindering the flow of God’s favor in my life through my own lack of integrity. Am I ruthless with sin and temptation, or do I just give in? Am I missing out on the “more” that God might have for me? Are you? Is there a temptation you face? Sexual sin, greed, pride, fear, worry, envy, eating or drinking too much, anger, resentment – the list can be long – but not as long as the Grace God freely gives to overcome it. Do we just give in or do we do battle with it. Joseph shows us how. I would encourage us to do battle, it is the pathway to God’s favor. And who doesn’t want that? Any thoughts?