Genesis 39:6b-10: You only.

“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’ 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even to be with her.” NIV


In Psalm 51:4 David wrote: ‘’Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…’’

 He wrote this helpful prayer of confession and repentance after committing adultery with Bathsheba. David had, obviously, sinned against the woman he slept with. He also sinned against her husband (in more ways than one, if you know the story.) He sinned against himself too (1 Corinthians 6:18). But he was aware that, ultimately, all sin is against God.

The same attitude was in Joseph. If he’d gone to bed with Potiphar’s wife, he also would have sinned against her, and her husband, and himself. But he was so aware of the vertical dimension of sin (9), and it helped him to dig in his heels and repeatedly ‘refuse’ (8, 10) her advances. The temptation was persistent and insistent (10). How many days did this go on? We don’t know, but we do know that, with a sense of accountability towards his earthly master (8,9a), but above all to His Divine King (9b), he resisted the devil.

Verse 10 makes me think about words attributed to Martin Luther: ‘You can’t prevent the birds flying about your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.’

PRAYER: Lord, I know that some temptation is inevitable in this broken world. But as far as it lies with me, help me to avoid situations where I’m going to be tempted and I’m likely to fall.