When our appetites are raging, when our attention is divided—we have to figure out if resistance is really worth the effort. Is God…
All We Need?- As Joseph’s story continues, it takes a turn for the worst and again his coat becomes the center of attention—with Joseph’s cloak her mind starting working overdrive (39:16-20a) 16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” 19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.Lis Curtis Higgs pointed out that later Jewish commentaries started referring to Potiphar’s wife as Zuleika, which means “fair, brilliant, and lovely” in Arabic. Joseph had been set apart in the household of Potiphar for his devotion of God, successful not because he was good, but because he faithfully served a good God. Yet, here faithfulness is seemingly repaid with a faltering off course. He seems to have made a bad choice, instead of enjoying passion with Potiphar’s wife, he ends up in a prison cell. Had he settled for less?
Sometimes we can feel trapped by morality; by rules, feeling like to stay within the lines God laid out means settling for less, but in reality instead of less, it calls us to see more. If you’ve been to Chicago recently or can envision the giant skyscrapers looming over the people filling the sidewalks, you can get a picture of what it must be like to faithfully follow God and try to look ahead and see the complete path. While we might not always know where we are going, we always are told who we are following. Think about walking into the lobby of the Sears Tower, the view out the window looks exactly like from the sidewalk, but get in the elevator and watch what happens when you get to the 25 floor, suddenly all the distractions, noise from the honking horns becomes less oppressive, then get back in and go to the 50th floor, and suddenly instead of a view obstructed by steel and buildings, the whole picture of the city starts to become apparent. You are in the same location and yet the larger picture is clear. Some people are close to a church, but locked in an elevator, never getting to see the view that God intended. They never experience marriage best on a model of Christ, never experience a commitment beyond comfort, a love that is unconditional.
It’s time to step out of the elevator and into the exhilarating light of the top floor. Hindsight is 20-20, but we have the potential to learn from the past. There were probably experiences, moments, seasons of life where you had no idea where faithfulness was leading, what possible good could come in the aftermath of deciding God’s way was going to be your way. Yet, even though you didn’t know where you were being led, you knew the one leading. Most of us have experiences trying to lead ourselves, maybe you saw it in your family, a broken marriage, estranged family members, a bitter blowup. Each decision to go at it alone, was really a declaration—that God’s way wasn’t the right way, that God wasn’t enough. Remember Jesus words–He doesn’t want you to go hungry, be left without the enduring breath, instead he promises that he died so that you would have the opportunity to follow God’s plan. 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
The dirty job of outlasting lust doesn’t mean we all move into convents, wear full-body coverings, or poke out our eyes. Instead of living like a food eating contest—cramming in more and more, faster and faster, all trying to win a prize that fails to capture our true worth, we can meet most temptations, most real needs by being filled by the Lord. Jesus used the verbiage he did in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled!” In John Jesus said: 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. You see, just when faithfulness seemed to be a fool’s path, we read this update from in prison: But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. Despite it all—God is enough! He was enough then, he is enough now, let’s feast on God’s fruitfulness rather than falter alone!