Initially Joseph’s story in Egypt takes a positive turn. Joseph has entrusted himself to God, and God blesses Joseph, who rises to heights he would not have imagined in Potiphar’s household.
In what practical ways could God’s blessings be seen in Joseph’s life? What are Joseph’s interpersonal relationships like? Read Genesis 39:1-6.
Although Joseph seems to be getting along very well with Potiphar, and his relationships among the staff in the house and on the field seem to be smooth — trouble is brewing. Someone at home is restless.
What relationship problem is Joseph facing? How does he choose to manage it? Read Genesis 39:7-10.
Joseph has a problem with Potiphar’s wife. Perhaps we should reformulate that: Potiphar’s wife has a problem. She looks at others as “things” that can be manipulated and used. She wants to “use” Joseph. Joseph is described as “handsome in form and appearance” (Genesis 39:6). The Bible seldom mentions people’s physical traits, because God “does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In this case Joseph’s good looks seem to be more of a hinderance than a help in his pursuit of purity and faithfulness to God’s principles.
Despite this wicked woman’s insistence, Joseph does something seemingly counterproductive. He applies biblical principles to all relationships — in this case Potiphar’s wife. Biblical principles for relationships are not old-fashioned, as anyone (which is everyone) who has suffered the consequences of sin can attest.
The biblical narrative points out that this is not a one-off temptation. Potiphar’s wife pursued him again and again (Genesis 39:10). Joseph tried explaining his motivation for his decision ( Genesis 39.8-9) but this did not seem to work.
Joseph realizes that he cannot control the choices of others. He decides, however, to live, love, and treat those around him in a way that will honor God. Joseph has learned to live in God’s presence. This knowledge helped him resist temptation.
|Have you tried to apply biblical principles to all your relationships, even those where the other person is not “playing fair”? How did it work out? Read Matthew 5:43-48. Why is it important to live like this?|