photo by Fergal of Claddagh

The Bible is an amazing book:  the way it points us to God and shows us how to live is unequaled by any other book in human literature.  I’d like to show you something I discovered recently while studying this book; maybe you’ll appreciate it as much as I did!

We often remember Joseph (the Old Testament character) as the boy who was hated by his brothers, given a multi-colored coat by his father Jacob, sold into Egyptian captivity, and eventually the rescuer of his family during a massive famine.  But the book of Genesis paints a picture over the span of several chapters that shows us Joseph’s character very clearly.

  • Abraham and Isaac both tried to pass their wives off as their sisters (Genesis 12 and 26).
  • Joseph’s sister Dinah was raped by a man named Shechem (Genesis 34).
  • Joseph’s brother Reuben slept with Jacob’s concubine, Bilhah (Genesis 35:22).
  • Joseph’s brother Judah had twins with Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar (Genesis 38).

The early days of the Bible are full of stories that make us blush, either with shame or anger, about how certain men treated certain women.  Now take a few minutes to read Genesis 39, the story of Joseph’s encounters with Potiphar’s wife in Egypt.  Look at how careful Joseph is to maintain his sexual purity, even though his actions resulted in his imprisonment.  Joseph – unlike Abraham, Isaac, Shechem, Reuben, and Judah – was careful to avoid sexual misconduct (having an affair with Potiphar’s wife).  And what was his stated reason?  He could not fathom “do[ing] such a wicked thing and sin[ning] against God” (Genesis 39:9, NIV).

So may it be among us:  that our everyday choices, in all areas of life, may be in clear contrast with the actions taken by the world around us.  Friends, let us follow the way of the Lord, no matter the cost!

–Pastor David

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