Joseph – His Temptations
Introduction: Genesis 37-50
(1) This is the section of Genesis that deals with the life of Joseph – one of the greatest men in the entire Bible. Genesis chapters 37 – 50 is about Joseph.
(2) About all that many know about him is that he had a coat of many colors (Genesis 37:3).
(3) This is indeed a shame because there is a lot more said in the Bible about his character that there is about his coat.
(4) In this study we want to notice some of the temptations that served to reveal his true character. Joseph was tempted time and again, but he managed to overcome many of those temptations.
(5) Since temptations are common to us all (1 Corinthians 10:13) perhaps a study of Joseph’s temptations will help us when tempted. Hopefully, he can give us hope and assurance when we are tempted (Romans 15:4).
BODY: Joseph – His Temptations
- He was tempted at Home (Genesis 37:1-11)
- We don’t usually think of home as a place of temptation.
- But his brothers hated him, were jealous and envious, and couldn’t speak kindly to him (Genesis 37:4 & 11).
- It is always a temptation to do unto others as they do unto you and not “as ye would that they do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12).
- But Joseph did not give in to the temptation to strike back – he handled the temptation at home.
- Today we have many temptations at home. We are tempted to say and do things we shouldn’t such as disobey our parents, tempted to neglect Bible study, prayer, and discipline, tempted to fuss and fight with brothers and sisters, and tempted to do a host of other things that are wrong.
- But Joseph overcame his temptations at home and so can we.
- He was tempted as a Slave. (Genesis 37:23-36)
- He was sold to the Ishmaelites and then to a man named Potiphar as a slave.
- He could have become bitter and sour on the world. He could have turned on everything and everybody. Man is usually tempted toward self-pity and feeling sorry for himself.
- However, it seems that young Joseph overcame that temptation too. He didn’t turn sour but rather seemed to say, “If I must be a slave, I’m going to be a good one.” And with the Lord’s help he was made overseer over all of Potiphar’s house and “all that he had he put in Joseph’s hand.” (Genesis 39:1-6) Joseph made the best of his situation rather than letting his situation make the best of him.
- Christians today and especially young people, need to learn how to handle situations in life that don’t go exactly like we want them to. Christianity is not a glorified hayride or a sanctified picnic. There are going to be disappointments, disease, and difficulties in life. (Job 14:1; John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12; James 1:2) But we must learn to live with them and through them. (See Philippians 4:11-13) Joseph made it by the help of the Lord and so can we.
- “Turn failure into victory – don’t let your courage fade. And when you get a lemon – just make some lemonade.”
III. He was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis 39:7-12).
- He was tempted to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis 39:7)
- The temptation to commit adultery or fornication is very real and prevalent in our world today –especially among young people.
- But Joseph, when tempted, “fled and got out.” (Genesis 39:12) He knew that yielding to this temptation would be “great wickedness” and a “sin against God.” (Genesis 39:9) He overcame this temptation by fleeing and young people today need to follow his example. (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Corinthians 6:18).
- Joseph could have used all kind of excuses for yielding to this temptation – i.e. No one will ever know but us; everybody else is doing it; my parents won’t ever find out, etc. But he, by the help of the Lord, overcame the temptation.
- NOTE: Young girls need to be sure to take the Bible with you on dates so that if things start getting out of hand you can just lay the Bible between the two of you…. it will be hard for him to get over Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
- He was tempted in Prison. (Genesis 39:13-20)
- Because he refused to commit sin with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown in prison. (Genesis 39:13-20)
- He had trusted God all long and now he is in prison. He could have been tempted to distrust God. He could have thought about how he had refused to sin against God and now look what has happened. He could have thought about how “my brothers are free, Potiphar’s wife is free, and here I am in jail.”
- But he overcame this temptation too because the “Lord was with Joseph.” (Genesis 39:21). And he later realized that what had happened had worked out for good. (Genesis 50:20).
- Today Christians, and especially young people, need to know that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28.
- Therefore, when we are mistreated and are called on to suffer for righteous sake, let’s remember Joseph and how he overcame the temptation to distrust God.
- He was tempted in Prosperity.
- There is always the temptations to forget God when things are going well. God warned Israel of this very problem. (See Deuteronomy 6:10-12).
- When Joseph was taken from prison and exalted in Egypt there would be the temptation to forget God. He was put over all the land of Egypt, by his word the people were ruled, and only Pharoah was greater than he (Genesis 41:39-44). Surely with this position there would be the temptation to be proud and arrogant and get even with those who had mistreated him. But he overcame this temptation.
- Christians need to realize that popularity, positions, and prosperity in life can cause problems. In this greatest nation in the world there are plenty who are financially prosperous and many who have prominent positions and many are pretty popular. But as Christians we must never yield to the temptation to trust the riches and forget about God. (1 Timothy 6:17).
- Joseph still thought about God even after he was exalted in Egypt. (See Genesis 41:51-52). Christians need to remember Joseph if every tempted to forget God today.
CONCLUSION: In this study we have discussed the temptations of Joseph. And since God gave us the Old Testament for our learning, (Romans 15:4) hopefully we have learned some things that will help us when tempted, especially when we are young. Joseph was also a type of the Lord Jesus in numerous ways. One way is that he saved his people from starvation just like Jesus saves us from our sins when we trust in His sacrifice for our sins and are baptized into His name (Acts 2:36-38).