JosephBy Norman P. Grubb
So, we see this situation of this young man, happy in his spirit, free in his spirit, understanding himself to be God’s man in this situation, and so operating that his work was blessed. That’s pretty good for any of us, isn’t it? So there was prosperity. In the Bible ways there is always prosperity. Prosperity comes from inside, not from outside. Prosperity comes when I’m in a prosperous relationship with Jesus Christ. Prosperity will proceed from me in my job. The Bible says (Joshua 1:8), “Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success”. I’ve always believed every one of us should have good success, whatever situation we are in. When we have good success inwardly…because the good success inwardly is the living God operating by me…then it comes out in my activities.
Now there can be no greater evidence of the fixation of Joseph than that of his moral life. You are absorbed by what eats you up (John 2:17). If you have a dual interest, you have dual appeals. Illicit sex didn’t appeal to Joseph. That was his safeguard. He didn’t care about it because he was eaten up with being God’s man in God’s way. He couldn’t do a thing that wouldn’t please God and wouldn’t be right by his boss. So he didn’t “see” Potiphar’s wife. She had no hold on him. If he had wanted some flesh and spirit, he’d have been copped. But he didn’t want it. He was absorbed in being God’s man. He wasn’t against marriage – he had a wife and sons later on – but he was absorbed in having God’s way and fulfilling God’s purposes and in having God put first in his life. Alternative temptations didn’t touch him. That’s really the strength for youth, you know.
I must say, as a young soldier in World War I, I never had trouble because I was for souls. So I never had any trouble running after women and after drink and so on. I had friendships with girls, like the rest, of course, and enjoyed them, but was always after souls. You see, if you are after the higher thing, you don’t see the lower. That’s the victory for young people. It isn’t, “Oh, those poor young people in such tough situations”. No, they’re not in tough situations. They’re in grand situations if they are all for Jesus.
Once again, in the line of God’s will, the evil thing became the good. There isn’t good or evil with God. Good or evil is in the Fall, and evil is only the misuse of good. He will use it for His own ends. Therefore, Potiphar’s wife was the next step in God’s purposes…Potiphar’s wife! She pestered Joseph frequently, pestered him day after day to come and commit adultery with her (39:10). Finally, she was so determined to have him that she grabbed his cloak when he was alone in the house with her. The only thing he could do was flee. The Bible says, “Flee adultery, flee fornication, flee temptation.” He fled. Not that he was tempted, but he must get out of there. He didn’t want it. To save the poor woman’s reputation as well as his own, he made that great statement of total trustworthiness. He was a slave, but his boss had put him in charge of everything. He said to Potiphar’s wife, “Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house and hath committed all that he hath to my hand. There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” I can’t sin against Potiphar or God. God has called me to fulfill all I should fulfill, as perfectly as I can, in fulfilling my duties for my boss, to be the perfect servant to my boss. I’m not the perfect servant if I do that…and, above that, God. I am God’s. How can I sin against God? I’m God’s man. That was his answer to Potiphar’s wife.
For the second time he had severe sufferings. You can imagine what Potiphar did to him. I wonder how far Potiphar could see through his wife. I wonder how far he thought this was really Joseph’s fault at all. Except that at first he was taken in, anyhow. When she brought this story to him, that Joseph had tried to seduce her, he jumped into it. You can imagine how he treated Joseph. Imagine the beatings and punishment. He was put in irons. That was the time in the Psalms (105: 17-18) where it says that, “God sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant, whose feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in iron.” In the margin it says, “His soul came into iron.” So you get the dual suffering. Soul is not spirit. Soul is emotion and reason. Every reason against this ridiculous business of being God’s, and getting worse and worse; it looked as if God were a devil. All his reason and emotions were torn to pieces, the one man who had been faithful to Potiphar, faithful to God, and this very faithfulness destroyed him again…not to speak of the beatings he must have had there in fetters, “His feet were hurt by fetters” – pretty tight.
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