Friday, December 30, 2011

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 1, 2012

(Strive to live a life of integrity)
(Genesis 39)

Through Scripture, we learn that the LORD provides us with two “temptation barriers” to help us to avoid sin, one is “HIS goodness”, and the other is “HIS judgment”. In Genesis 39 we see an example of how the knowledge and experience of “GOD’s goodness” prevented Joseph, Israel’s favorite son, from committing adultery with his master, Potiphar’s, wife (Vs. 8-9). 
After being sold into slavery by his brothers to a group of traveling Ishmaelites, Joseph had been subsequently re-sold to a man named Potiphar, who was the captain of the guards for the Pharaoh of Egypt. Joseph, through his faithful service to Potiphar, quickly rose to the position of supervisor over his master’s entire estate. The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly in everything that he did, and HE also blessed Potiphar for Joseph’s sake (Vs. 1-6). 
In the process of time, Potiphar’s wife became very attracted to Joseph, who scripture tells us, was a very handsome, well-built man. She began to pursue Joseph sexually, but he, time and time again, resisted her advances. He told her that her husband trusted him, and had been too good to him for him to do such wicked a thing. “He has entrusted me with everything that he has, and has withheld nothing from me, except you. No one on his staff has more authority than me. It would be a great sin against GOD”, he told her (Vs. 7-9). 
On one occasion however, when Joseph was working alone inside the house, she saw him, and grabbed him and demanded that he sleep with her. Joseph, however, tore himself away from her and fled from the house as quickly as he could, leaving a piece of his garment clutched in her hands. Infuriated by Joseph’s continued rejections, she screamed for the guards and when they arrived, she told them that Joseph had tried to rape her, and she used his garment as proof that Joseph had been there. When she told Potiphar, he was furious at Joseph, and he had him thrown into prison (Vs. 11-19).
Now GOD continued to be with Joseph while he was in prison, just as HE was with him in Potiphar’s house. In both settings Joseph was a faithful servant to those who were in authority. The conviction and trust that he had, that GOD was with him in all circumstances, freed him up to do the very best he could do, no matter how great his setbacks were, or appeared to be. 
Our faithfulness to a life of integrity can prepare us for whatever advancement we will receive from GOD, whenever things seem to be going downhill for us. Joseph’s faithfulness prepared him for those sudden advancements that GOD bestowed upon him every time it looked like things were getting worse. 
When he was sold into the depths of slavery, GOD raised him to the heights of manager over his master’s estate. When he was thrown down into prison, GOD raised him up to be in charge of everything that went on inside the prison. Joseph was faithful with small things, and so GOD entrusted him with greater things, and HE will do the same with any who choose to live a life of integrity before HIM.
This story in the life of Joseph serves to remind us of the frequent advice of King Solomon where he warns us, time and time again, of the folly of yielding to the temptations of a flattering woman, or man, and thereby, destroying all chances of having a life of true service to GOD. Joseph did not yield to temptation because he was totally convinced that he would receive GOD’s goodness if he remained true to HIM. And he was not willing to throw away GOD’s blessings for a moment’s pleasure in sin, and it did not bother him if he had to suffer for righteousness sake. And that brings to mind, another great MAN of integrity, ONE whom we all know as, CHRIST JESUS.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


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