Joseph: The True Size of Sin

"And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." 

But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do THIS GREAT WICKEDNESS, and sin against God?"

So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.


But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.

And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, "See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside."

So she kept his garment with her until his master came home.

Genesis 39:7-16

You probably know the rest of the story. Logically, Potiphar believed his wife – and Joseph’s coat was there to prove it! Joseph was thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. But his connection with God was yet intact. Joseph ran from sexual sin. He knew it would bury his dreams, disconnect him from the God of his fathers – in a strange land for that matter. He didn’t stay to argue or discuss with Mrs Potiphar. He fled – got out fast. So must we.

I recall a lady who came to see me in the clinic. She had some gynecological problems. She began, “Doctor, when I am having fun…” I asked if she was married to which she answered, No. It turned out she was having some pain or other problems when she was sleeping with her boyfriend. What this lady called “having fun”, God calls fornication in the Bible! What she called “fun”, Joseph called GREAT WICKEDNESS – wickedness so great that going to prison (or death – Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief executioner, could have had Joseph beheaded!) was a better option.

If we understood the true size of sexual sin, that insight would deter us from this evil. Fornication is not “a mistake” or “a weakness” or a “bad habit” or “enjoyment” or “having fun”. There is nothing funny about something that can send you to hell. It is great wickedness. It is bread of deceit that will ultimately catalyze to gravel in your mouth. It is a defiling of God’s temple, a corruption of God’s purpose, an act of lawlessness, a criminal offence punishable by death and eternal destruction in the lake of fire. This is the immutable position of the Bible about it. Something that led to the death of 24,000 people in one day cannot be a light matter. That is not something to excuse or play with. Yet this sin is ravaging the Church in epidemic proportions. Until we see sin the way God sees it, we will never stop committing it.

Joseph kept a safe distance from Mrs. Potiphar. This was critical to his ability to escape. Some stay too close to temptation: they literally court the temptation – and then wonder why they fell! Also, a one-time “No!” is not enough to avoid sexual sin. Mrs. Potiphar was relentless in her seduction of Joseph. “She pestered him day after day after day, but he stood his ground. He refused to go to bed with her” (Gen.39:10 The Message). Joseph stood his ground: so must we. If the devil suggests it, and his agents entice us to sin a million times, they must meet an emphatic “No!” each time. Yesterday’s “No” will not suffice for today’s temptations.

When Mrs. Potiphar eventually made her move, Joseph was so God-conscious that he didn’t speak of sinning against Potiphar! He asked her, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (GW). As far as Joseph was concerned, Mrs. Potiphar was asking him to commit adultery with her with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the room, watching! Recall David’s confession of his sin: “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight” Psa. 51:4 NKJV. Sexual sin is a direct sin against God – committed in his sight – an effrontery of titanic proportions! Until God becomes so prominent in our hearts and minds that reverence for Him is stronger than our passions, we remain vulnerable.

Mrs. Potiphar and her descendants in seduction may catch your coat but they must never catch your covenant with God. By the way, this was the second coat Joseph was losing – and it was way inferior to the coat of many colors his brothers took from him. No matter, he still had his robe of righteousness.

Jump through the window if necessary. Run out naked if you have to. Go to prison if it comes to that. But ensure that your fellowship with God is not compromised by sexual sin. The God of heaven will personally see to it that He perfects all that concerns you. He will bring you to the awesome destiny He has prepared for you. The story of Joseph’s life is standing proof.

This article is taken from RED LIGHTS! Overcoming Sexual Temptation by Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart by Dr. Ferdinand Nweke. Purchase the full ebook from our store.

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