Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 25 2011 - E100.12a – Gen 39:1-23, In Potiphar's house

The Midianite traders sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's high officials. But though he is far from home and is in an alien environment Joseph is not abandoned; the Lord is with him (an echo of the promise to Jacob) and is intent on fulfilling his purposes through this young man. Nor does Joseph simmer with resentment at all that has happened to him; he seeks to act well and serve faithfully in this new and strange setting – serving not only his new master but also the Lord. And as a result he brings blessing to Potiphar's household – through him a family from another nation is blessed.

But Potiphar's wife took a fancy to Joseph and wanted him to sleep with her. Joseph continually refused saying that this would not only be a betrayal of Potiphar's trust but also a great act of wickedness; it would be to sin against God. Enraged, Potiphar's wife tells her husband that Joseph tried to rape her. Joseph is thrown into the royal prison. But even here Joseph is not abandoned; the Lord is with him and shows him 'steadfast love' – the Hebrew word is used particularly of God's covenant love and faithfulness towards his people (see Psalm 136). Joseph continues to act with grace and integrity and becomes a trusted prisoner, placed in charge of all the others.

Joseph provides us with a model of how the child of God should conduct themselves in a hostile world. Acting with integrity and with an eye to always pleasing God will not guarantee an easy life – it landed Joseph in prison – but it will bring blessing of God to those whose lives we touch.

Loving Father, thank you for your promise that you will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you that I am embraced in the covenant love you have lavished upon me in the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to serve you faithfully in whatever situation you bring my way that, no matter what troubles befall me, I may know the blessing of pleasing you and may be a blessing to those whose lives I touch.

Peter Misselbrook