Weird is the New Normal: A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis - Day Thirty Two

Weird is the New Normal:  A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis
 
Weird – “of strange or extraordinary character.”
Normal – “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”
  • Merriam Webster
Day Thirty-Two – “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” – Joseph (Gen. 39:9)
Meanwhile, in Egypt… Joseph was sold by the Midianite merchants to Potiphar, “one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” (Gen. 37: 36) Before we move on, I just want to comment on how cruel and heartless Joseph’s brothers acted! Not only did they sell their brother into slavery, but they smeared blood on Joseph’s coat and took it home and told Isaac that a wild animal had eaten Joseph. Isaac was inconsolable! Proverbs 11: 17 says, “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.” I believe Joseph’s brothers were being eaten from the inside out by their cruelty, and would only later realize it.
OK, now back to Egypt… The Lord was with Joseph, and he prospered working in the household of Potiphar. Everything he did was successful. The attendant who is “in charge” of Joseph thought so much of him that soon Joseph was put in charge of running the whole household. The Lord blessed him, and the Lord blessed Potiphar. It still must have really hurt that his brothers had sold him into slavery, but Joseph was actually doing pretty well, considering. But there was this woman…
Potiphar’s wife would have seen Joseph a lot, since Joseph was running the household, Joseph was a hunk.  The Scripture puts it this way: “Now Joseph was well-built and handsome.” (Gen. 39: 7) One day, Potiphar’s wife goes to Joseph and says, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” (I can’t believe I’ve actually written that two days in a row) What she literally says is, “Come to bed with me!” (Gen. 39: 7) (Are you trying to seduce me Mrs. Robinson?)
Let’s say for argument’s sake that Potiphar’s wife was beautiful and desirable.  She was in a position to TELL Joseph what to do. Joseph could have said, “Well, you are the boss” and gone ahead and slept with her. But he didn’t.  Why? Because however desirable she was and whatever authority she had over Joseph, she was still his master’s wife…and going to bed with her would have been a sin…against Potiphar, who trusted Joseph with everything…but mostly against God.  Did you notice that our question for today is worded, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin AGAINST GOD?”
The word in v. 9 translated “sin” is the Hebrew word, “chata,” and it means, “to miss…to go wrong.” If Joseph had slept with Potiphar’s wife, he would have gone wrong…gone in a way that was less than God wanted for him. Joseph might have “missed” a night of pleasure, but he “kept” something more important…his integrity.
Reflection: What does “integrity” mean to you? How do you know when you have “gone wrong?”
Action: Write down a list of your core values…the non-negotiable code you live by.

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