Handsome Joseph

Genesis 39:6b-12

6bNow Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

8But 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. 9No 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?” 10And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12She 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.

“Hirap maging guapo”

Are you satisfied with your beauty? Did you wish you were more beautiful? One person testified that it is not that easy to have good looksnot that easy to have good looks? He confessed that, anywhere he went, he was crowded for his handsomeness.

God has a purpose for every detail of our life and the beauty He designed. Can you appreciate how you look? Did you thank God for who you are, how you were created, how and where you were born, what you are right now in your practical life, and your attainments including circumstances and struggles?

It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 18Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

You may have observed God’s commands are almost always contradictory to what we normally do or wish. Sure! We can easily give thanks when things are favorable to us but when things are undesirable, giving thanks don’t come easy, do they? Can you readily accept that it is God’s will when things become tough?

Joseph may have been very thankful to God when he was still living in his father’s household because he was the favorite son of his father. Everything that his brothers wished to have, Joseph got them. But when his brothers sold him as slave, did he ever thank God for it? Possibly later! The Lord blessed everything that Joseph did so that he prospered even when he was still a slave in Egypt.

Joseph was diligent and reliable. His master Potiphar promoted him and put him in charge of all his properties. Potiphar observed that the Lord blessed Joseph in everything he did. He admired the wisdom and work ethics of Joseph but Potiphar’s wife admired the well-built body and handsomeness of Joseph.

  1. Admire

6bNow Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

Do you agree that the handsome face of Joseph was natural? Was it possible that he had plastic surgery? He had a well-built body but it was not mentioned if it was natural also. To have a well-built body implies that Joseph did not neglect his health. Meaning: Even in a seemingly unfavorable situation, he made it sure that he took care of his body, ate properly, or exercised regularly.

What do you normally or particularly observe when you watch movies: plot of story, actions, scenery? Most often, actors prepare their bodies according to their roles. Acting like athlete, an actor should have athletic body, right? Have you observed that actors are skinny when acting as slaves in movies?

Such image of skinny individual presents the situation of slaves as not desirable, despicable, deplorable or just plain ugly, why? Well-built body cannot emphasize the hardship and limited food that slave endured.

Yet, it was the very opposite of what happened to Joseph. He was well-built and handsome, and his master’s wife admired him because of his features. It appeared like being a slave was just some king of ordinary life experience to him. How did Joseph manage to endure and take it easy his life as a slave?

Apostle Paul testifies in 2 Corinthians 11:23:29, 23I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 

Apostle Paul boasted of the difficulties he went through as Christ’s servant. Why did he respond positively to troubles? Certainly, the Spirit of Christ produced fruit in his life, which sustained him to keep on keeping on serving the Lord. It is hypocrisy for him if he did not experience what he teaches in Philippians 4:4-7:

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Accordingly, Paul was in prison when he wrote his letter to the Philippians. Prison life was never better than slavery in his time. Yet, Paul challenges us to rejoice in the Lord always. Hmn! Rejoice in the Lord always! What does it mean? Paul found joy and peace that surpasses understanding serving Christ the Lord.

Is it easy to explain, is it easy to understand how we to have joy and peace when situations are unfavorable? Maybe partly but it’s more than what word can explain. It exceeds human intellectual capacity. We simply say, by faith.

Paul did not pretend to be joyful while in prison or when persecuted. The Spirit of God sustained him when he decided to obey the plan that the Lord has designed for him. Before Paul went to Jerusalem, a prophet named Agabus warned Paul of hostile Jews waiting in Jerusalem, yet, he still went to Jerusalem.

Exactly as the prophet warned him, Jewish people in Jerusalem tried to kill him when he testified in Acts 22:21-22, 21The Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ 22The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

Paul had clearly known that his mission was not among Jewish but among Gentiles. He was violently harassed by Jewish people. Jewish people were often hostile to Paul, why? Was it God’s way to redirect Paul’s mission path to Gentile? Why did Paul insist on going to Jerusalem when the Lord warned him?

Paul may have been very zealous of testifying before Jewish people, to save Jewish people. When we encounter trouble while serving God, is it possible that we just failed to choose the ministry God has designed for us, just like Paul?

Anyway, Paul was harassed but the Lord sustained and kept him safe so that the will of the Lord for Paul as apostle to the Gentiles, must be fulfilled.

Likewise, Joseph prospered and had a well-built body may prove that the Lord sustained him in Egypt. God’s plan for him must be fulfilled. His master had certainly observed that Joseph found joy in his work which produced good result favorable to Potiphar and his household. Think about it! If you chose a manager of your business, would you choose a person who always complains?

Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all his properties because he’s reliable. Joseph must have been diligent, and Potiphar was blessed because of him. The reliability of Joseph was tested further when he refused Potiphar’s wife. Joseph was determined not to sin against God. He prioritized his duties assigned to him.

  1. Assign

8But 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. 9No 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?”

Joseph’s appeal may have been exceptional. Joseph’s faith in the Lord was tested and he resisted and refused temptations. Faith in God inspires us to live a lifestyle pleasing to the Lord and to reject temptation of any kind.

A lifestyle pleasant to the Lord is actually, the greatest lifestyle we can ever have and experience. Faith in the Lord motivates us not to entertain temptation but to pursue the plan of God for us. We may say, “If God is Creator of all things, He certainly knows what’s best for his creation.” Yet, this reality is not easily put into perspectives. Not everyone can readily accept it plainly. Only a few get it. Believers may even find it very challenging to trust God with everything, why?

When life becomes easy, our tendency is to relax a little bit. Is it really a great life to have relaxing life? Do you know that relaxing is dangerous?

The word ‘relax’ and ‘lax’ are related. ‘Re’ signifies repetition. ‘Lax’ means ‘not strict, not severe, not tense, not rigid, not firm, but loose, slack, careless, or negligent. So, a relax lifestyle is a repetition of not severe, not tense, not rigid, not firm, but loose, slack, careless, or negligent lifestyle, right?

Bathsheba

Many of you, if not all of you, heard the story of David and Bathsheba. Can you agree that every person great and small has a share of negligence? David’s share of negligence was recorded in 2 Samuel 11:1-3, 1In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4Then David sent messengers to get her. 

So what exactly was David’s negligence? When it was “time when kings go off to war,” David was negligent of his duty as king when chose to relax a little bit. Relaxing time is unguarded time. Human natural tendency is to relax a little bit and David had unguarded time when he chose to relax. He may have assumed that everything was fine, under control. He did not know that he was careless and slack. When he slept with Bathsheba, it exposed his carelessness miserably.

Relaxing a little bit is helpful to the body and mind sometimes. If one insists on his right to relax, he gave in to his pride demanding respect. He demands his right to be recognized. It’s real! If we are right, does it follow that we should insist on our right? Is it biblical? Did the Lord command us to insist, fight for our rights?

In 1 Peter 5:5-9, 5You who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Does it make you alert and have sober mind, if you relax a little bit? Anyway, extended relaxation at work is carelessness and negligence. Relaxation is a very seductive temptation that many would like to have or experience. Why?

We like to relax. Our human nature does not necessarily enjoy hardship.

Surely, the body, mind and spirit need rest and recreation but an extended relaxation is not very productive. The best positive and productive rest and recreation is to find rest in Christ. Christ inspires us to persevere and keep on.

It teaches us in 2 Peter 1:5-9, 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

That’s exactly what Joseph has exemplified in his lifestyle. He was careful not to sin against the Lord. He had self-control to refuse temptation. He knew how to persevere as slave, and the Lord blessed him, and he prospered. He had overcome temptation even as he attended to his duties assigned to him.

  1. Attend

 10And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12She 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.

Being the manager of his master’s properties, Joseph could have easily instructed other servants to attend to his duties so that he could relax a little bit. Joseph testified that he did not desire to give in to wickedness and sin against God. By attending to his duties diligently, his master was very pleased.

It commands us in Colossians 3:23, 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters

Such was the lifestyle that Joseph lived on. He wanted to glorify God in a severe situation being a slave—a lifestyle pleasing to God. He preferred to wait upon the Lord to deal with his situation. He diligently attended to his duties as manager of the properties of his master, and did not entertain any temptation.

We can conclude that Joseph was more focused on trusting the Lord than returning to Canaan where he had luxury in his father’s household. Did he ever reminisce or wish to have his relaxing lifestyle in his father’s household again? Joseph may have remembered his good old days in Canaan but he may have remembered that his siblings were very harsh to him while Egyptians loved him.

It says in Psalm 46:10, 10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

When Joseph told his brothers about his dream, what happened to him?

His brothers were angry when they heard his dream. Then, Joseph told them another dream which was very similar to the first one. The interpretation of his brothers about his dream may have come from the Lord. They were unified and perhaps, they believed that Joseph would be more successful than them.

It says in Genesis 37:8, 8His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Joseph did not insist or even tried to manipulate things so that his dream would come true. He believed that his vision about his future came from the Lord. Therefore, if it is the Lord’s will, nobody can prevent it. His brothers tried to prevent Joseph’s dream from happening when they planned to hurt him.

It says in Genesis 37:19-20, 19“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20“Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

But the Lord did not allow Joseph to die. Instead they sold him and Joseph ended up in Egypt. God’s plan for Joseph must be fulfilled. God wanted to use Joseph as His instrument to bring the Israelites to Egypt so that what the Lord told Abraham will also be fulfilled. God used the wickedness of Joseph’s brother to force Joseph to be brought to Egypt. The Lord has warned Abraham about it.

In Genesis 15:13, 13“Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.

That was exactly what happened to Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites. They were mistreated in Egypt for more than four hundred years as slaves. What can we learn from the lifestyle of Joseph to wait upon the Lord to fulfill His plan?

Today, decide for yourself. Have you ever heard God’s plan for your life? The Lord has already arranged a series of events, pleasant and unpleasant events that He deemed necessary to fulfill His plan for you.

Your response to any event God allows you to experience or encounter does not change God’s plan but surely affect your approach to life.

If you desire to have joy and peace in every circumstance and become a blessing to others, keep praying for God to help you fully submit to His will.

Keep asking Christ to perform His lordship in, and through your life until you sense His Spirit producing fruit in your life. Remember Joseph. Would your situation be much worse than Joseph’s. Yet, God blessed him and he prospered.

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