In Genesis 39, when tempted by Potiphar’s seductive wife, Joseph ran. He did not flirt, tease her or joke with her: he ran. But when he spurned her advances, he also told her why (v. 8-9). He explained how God had favored him, how Potiphar had entrusted him with almost everything in his home – except her. She was in fact the only thing he was forbidden access to. More importantly, he informed her it would be a “sin against God”.
Joseph was in an awkward situation, for this woman was avidly pursuing him (v. 10). But did Joseph miss out on something wonderful and sweet? Read the rest of the chapter to discover the type of woman she was. She lied and deceived her husband – and had Joseph punished for jilting her. As the old adage goes…“hell knows no fury like a woman scorned”.
Sooner or later, Joseph knew he would have to make a decision. His dilemma was not whether or not to succumb to her charms, but how to get out of the situation altogether. He made the decision to run (v. 12). Paul tells young Timothy to “flee youthful lusts, but follow righteousness, faith charity and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22).
In Genesis 3:3, God told Eve there was only one tree in the Garden of Eden she and Adam could not eat from. They indulged anyway. The result was sin. Potiphar told Joseph there was only one thing forbidden to touch – and he obeyed. He refused to sin by rejecting the source of the sin altogether. He fled from the ‘forbidden fruit’.
How many Christian men today are temped on the job by flirtatious co-workers? How many Christian women today are perpetually teased by carnal men at the workplace? Their situations can be stressful and can even involve job loss or the possibility of promotion.
Husbands and wives need to be very open with each other about such temptations and how they feel about them. They must, like Joseph, be continually aware of God’s grace and ability to help them in such situations.
Remember Joseph’s keen awareness of God’s favor and mercy. Knowing his relationship with God was paramount, he fled from forbidden fruit.