Genesis 39
Sermon Bible
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

Genesis 39:9

We are accustomed to admire the mere act of resistance to temptation, by whomsoever and howsoever offered. But there is a vast difference between the ways in which temptation is resisted. Some, knowing the thing desired of them to be essentially wrong, have recourse to cowardly shifts and evasions. They are unable to comply; thus much they will answer; but for this inability they will render all sorts of secondary and insufficient reasons, and keep back the right one. How very different from this weak and ineffectual course is the refusal of one who fearlessly states at once the right and master reason why he should not yield to temptation; "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" One of the lowest advantages of the brave and decided course is that such a person has the least trouble after all. His place is ascertained; his colours are shown. He is no waverer, and the crowd of busy mischief-makers cease from him and let him alone. The noble words of our text let us into the whole secret of endurance.

I. The answer of Joseph implies a sense of direct accountableness to God. This sense of responsibility leads at once to a truer estimate of right and wrong. While we tarry on the level of the world's maxims and habits, and try to decide our line of conduct, many a matter seems ambiguous and difficult to determine; but rise to the throne of God, and look down from thence, and all is clear. Oh for that second and better nature, sprung from the habit of seeing God in everything, which, when doubts, when questionings, when temptations arise, asks counsel at once of Him, runs into the strong tower of His name, and is safe.

II. This answer implies a sense of sin. Sin is a word of which the world knows not the meaning. Men must know what God is, or they cannot know what sin is. When Joseph spoke of sinning against God, he used this term of a positive and definite God, who had manifested Himself, and with whom he was in covenant. To sin against Him, to break His positive command, was to reject and despise his covenant God; to tread under foot His promises and His mercies.

III. This reply shows that true courage and seasonable boldness which ever characterise the genuine soldier of heaven. In every occupation of life, in all intercourse, in toil and in recreation, our Christian armour should be worn, and never be laid aside. The moment our allegiance is tested, the moment that the world requires what God forbids or forbids what God requires, we must stand to our arms, and admit no thought of a surrender.

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. vii., p. 245.

I. At once we recognise the presence of the Holy Ghost in this scene. He is its light and glory, its power and victory. God the Holy fills the entire field of vision, and Joseph is strengthened by an all-pervading awe of Him. The recognition of God keeps him from sin. His sacred presence blocks the way. This Authority ruling in and for righteousness shuts out all possibility of yielding.

II. This passage gives evidence of a large access of energy to Joseph's conscience, from his perfect identification of God with his own personal purity.

III. Joseph differed from Jacob in that he had no Bethel visions, and from Abraham in not hearing the Divine voice; but he had the Divine facts of life, and in them he read the ideas and will of God. The oldest of all Bibles, the Bible of human experience, was before him, and he read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested its contents.

J. Clifford, Daily Strength for Daily Living, p. 57.

References: Genesis 39:9.—C. Kingsley, Gospel of the Pentateuch, p. 103. Genesis 39:12.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 207. Genesis 39:20.—S. Cox, Expositor's Notebook, p. 40; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 369. 39:20-40:14.—Parker, vol. i., p. 302. Genesis 39:21. —Clergyman's Magazine, vol. viii., p. 94, and vol. xxii., p. 159. Gen 40—F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 140; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 150; W. M. Taylor, Joseph the Prime Minister, p. 61. Genesis 40:7.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 90. Genesis 40:8.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xii., p. 139. Genesis 40:9-11.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 70. Gen 41—F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 146; M. Dods, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, p. 189; Parker, vol. i., p. 311. Genesis 41:1-25.—Parker, vol. i., p. 311. Genesis 41:1-37.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 162. Genesis 41:1-46.—W. M. Taylor, Joseph the Prime Minister, p. 76. Genesis 41:4.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 185. Genesis 41:9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii., No. 680; J. Burns, Sketches of Sermons on the Parables, etc., p. 314. Genesis 41:37-57.—M. Dods, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, p. 209; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 171. 41:46-42:22.—Parker, vol. i., p. 320. Genesis 41:47-52.—W. M. Taylor, Joseph the Prime Minister, p. 91. Genesis 41:51.—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 401. Genesis 41:56.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 24. Gen 42—M. Dods, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, p. 231; F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 152. Genesis 42:1, Genesis 42:2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v., No. 234. Genesis 42:1-17.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiv., p. 240. Genesis 42:1-24.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 179. Genesis 42:1-38.—W. M. Taylor, Joseph the Prime Minister, p. 108; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 102. Genesis 42:2.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 142.

And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:
And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.
And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.
William Robertson Nicoll's Sermon Bible

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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