January 24, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from January 22-28 are provided by Kate Moon.  Kate, a graduate of Yale (BA) and Columbia University (MA), has been serving the Lord in E. Asia for 15+ years.  After taking a one-year hiatus, she has returned to grace us with her wonderful insights drawn from God’s Word.  Thank you.
 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 39:11-20

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house . . . .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.

There is an episode in a T.V. series where the good guy gets the bad guy by planting a microphone in his tooth when he goes to the dentist.  The good guy is able to hear and record everything the bad guy says, 24/7, and the bad guy quickly incriminates himself.  It was enough to make one stop and think, “What if someone recorded everything I said, 24/7?  Would my life and words stand up to the test?  What kind of person would I be revealed to be?”

Potiphar’s wife bears false witness against Joseph, telling outright lies about him, and Joseph ends up losing everything: his master’s trust, home and job, not to mention his honor, reputation and freedom.  Because there is no third-party witness, it is just his word against hers, and perhaps to emphasize how little weight his word carried at the time, any defense he may have been given a chance to make is not even recorded here.

Interestingly, however, the story that ends up getting told throughout the generations is not Potiphar’s wife’s version but Joseph’s.  At the time the supposed event occurred, it was just the two of them in the house, so there is no one who would have known what really happened besides them.  So how did this story end up getting told in Genesis?  I’m sure Potiphar’s wife never imagined that Joseph would one day become right-hand man to Pharaoh himself, a man in a position more than able to expose her infidelity and dishonesty to the world.  She had lied brazenly, confident that no one would ever find out; now even people living thousands of years after the fact know.

Most of us may not be going around telling outright lies about others, but are our stories honest and fair or do we tell them with half-truths that put us in a better light (and perhaps even misrepresent others)?  Would we have reason to be embarrassed if truth were exposed?  We don’t want to live in a state of paranoia or fear, but from time to time, such questioning can check our hearts.

Prayer:  Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you.  Purify my heart that in my speech I might not sin against you.  May I use words in such a way that I would have nothing to fear from exposure.

Bible Reading for Today:  Numbers 11


Lunch Break Study

Taking a second look from a different angle: what shadows of Jesus do we see in Joseph’s life?

Read Genesis 39:12-20: She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house . . .14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed . . .”  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.

Isaiah 53:5-9: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities . . .  and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all . . . 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

(Note: Though Isaiah 53 does not literally describe Jesus, many, including authors of the New Testament, take this chapter to be a prophecy describing the role he would fulfill.)

Questions to Consider

  1. In what ways did Potiphar’s wife attribute to Joseph actions and attitudes that were actually her own (i.e., lay her sins on him)? (Gen 39:12,14,17)
  2. How were the punishments that Joseph and Jesus bore similar? (Gen 39:19-20, Isa 53:8-9)
  3. The men in both passages are depicted as being in more passive roles; yet, what was the main difference between them in terms of how much their wills were involved? What is it that makes Jesus greater?  How does this make us love Him more?

Notes

  1. She had been the one seducing Joseph, but she accuses Joseph of seeking to sleep with her. She accuses him of “making sport” of them, but she is the one who is playing with Joseph’s life.
  2. They both bear the wrath of the one who was wronged by the sin; both punishments involved a separation, a cutting off from a prior life and an important relationship; both end up among the wicked and the rich
  3. Though to his credit he was suffering for being righteous, Joseph’s taking on of another’s sin and its consequences was incidental and involuntary.  Jesus, on the other hand, came into this world specifically and intentionally to take on all our sin, out of a love for and desire to save us.

Evening Reflection

Did I live today in a way that I would be unafraid to have broadcast to the world?  If so, praise the Lord for his grace.  Is there anything I did or said today that I would be embarrassed to have exposed?  Freely come to the One who came for that very reason, because we needed His grace and mercy.

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