Genesis 39:6-10 The man who fears God, fears nothing

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.

Background

Joseph faces threats from the rich and powerful trying his resolve to fear God and to do what is right. Joseph’s fear of God protects him from the persistent advances of Potiphar’s wife that breathes harm if he does not concede. The devil loses in his bid to enslave Joseph under his dominion of sin and darkness. Today’s devotion teaches us that the man who fears God, fears nothing.

Observation

It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph

When things start looking up, danger is at the horizon. What is supposedly for Joseph a blessing (handsome in form and appearance) becomes an avenue through which temptations come. The woman’s advances are bold and domineering targeting the male’s craving for power and lust. Joseph’s rejection of the woman’s advances comprises three reasons: it is an abuse of trust (he has put all that he owns in my charge); it is a sin against her husband (because you are his wife) ; and it is a great sin against God (How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?). Joseph’s cogent responses show his moral excellence and fear of God at the back of wide spread abuses among slaves in those days. Joseph fears nothing in the face of threats and oppression.

As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.

The woman does not take well to rejection, she tries to wear him down. She moderates her demands from "lie with me" (sexual intercourse) to "be with her" (be alone with her) hoping that he may accede to the first step. However, Joseph maintains clear boundaries, refusing even to be found near her in any circumstance.

Truth

The man who fears God, fears nothing

The man who fears God, fears nothing because he is confident that God will preserve him. On the other hand, the man who does not fear God, constantly fears the worst. He is perpetually worried about financial security, his health and being attacked by others more powerful than him. Proverbs says,

”What the wicked fears will come upon him. But the desire of the righteous will be granted.” Proverbs 10:24

Joseph does not fear the consequences of offending Potiphar’s wife because he fears God. He does not compromise or concede to the rich and powerful because God is His protector and provider.

The fear of God is unlike that which comes at the face of tyranny and oppression. It is an appropriate response to the Creator God who is infinitely loving, wise and powerful. Therefore, the fear of God keeps the righteous from defying His laws. As they walk with Him, they are assured of His protection. Many churchgoers claimed that they had no such assurance not because they do not know enough of God’s promises. But because they do not fear God or respect His commandments. Hebrews says without exception that those who distant themselves from God’s rule will expect judgment:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment.” Hebrews 10:26-27a

Perhaps, that is one reason why many despite Christ’s sacrifice are still being terrorised by the prospect of punishment. Unless they turn back from their self-seeking ways and fear God, Christ’s sacrifice will not be effective towards their forgiveness. And their conscience constantly bearing witness to an impending judgment… until such a time when their conscience being seared cease to speak.

That said, those who fear God are fearless and feared by all.

King David sang,

The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man. Psalm 11:6-8

And even their enemies are compelled to make peace with them. The psalmist said,

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

God made the God-fearing Abraham a promise of perpetual protection,

And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. Genesis 12:3

Sin makes no promises

The only thing that sin promises is absolute destruction. But the one who fears God possesses the promises of eternal riches and glory. When the devil wants to bring a man down, he causes him to make a practice of sinning. In so doing, he becomes enslaved to the devil being subject to his dominion. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” John 8:34.

Therefore, man must not fear poverty or sickness, but fear enslavement to sin and losing God’s protection as a result. For without the favour and protection of God there is no restoration or reprieve. If God is not with us, we are under the mercy of the devil whose sole purpose is to see to our total destruction.

The devil wants to bring Joseph down but not without first causing him to sin so that he may lose God’s favour and protection. Sending Joseph to jail barely cause a den to his career but sin destroys. Hence, the devil strategises and targets the inherent weaknesses of man: lust and power. Proverbs goes to great length to warn us to keep away from seductive people,

My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
2 That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey
And smoother than oil is her speech;
4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death,
Her steps take hold of Sheol.
6 She does not ponder the path of life;
Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her
And do not go near the door of her house,
9 Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one;
10 And strangers will be filled with your strength
And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien;
11 And you groan at your final end,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
12 And you say, “How I have hated instruction!
And my heart spurned reproof! Proverbs 5:1-12

There are churchgoers who comfort themselves that there will always be opportunity to turn back from their sinful lifestyle. But the truth is many have become so deeply embroiled in sin, they find it almost impossible to break free. Such are like Lot’s wife, who turns back towards the burning city preferring to die than to part with that which she loves (see Genesis 19:26). Therefore, sinners must turn back when it is still possible. By taking small steps daily while building upon them, they will eventually overcome.

Application

Are you often fearful of many things. It may be a sign that you have not have committed your life fully to fear God and to serve Him. There is a part of you that want God’s protection and salvation, but you are not willing yield to His plans and direction for your life. You are afraid that His plans may not bode well in your favour or with your desires. However, God promises,

He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.
May the Lord give you increase,
You and your children. Psalm 115:13-14

As you allow God to rule over you, you will experience divine peace and assurance of salvation.

Are you trapped in the pleasures of sin and unable to divorce yourself from it? God promised the blood of Jesus has secured for you a place in His kingdom if you do not give up. Therefore, we must approach God not by the merit of our moral condition but by the blood of Jesus (see Hebrews 10:19). In so doing, the blood and the Spirit cleanse our conscience and bodies from evil inclinations (see Hebrews 10:22). We approach God by reading and meditating on the Word diligently. Having done so, be vigilant to rebuke the evil spirits and send them to hell the moment they come knocking at your door.

Dear Lord, I commit myself unreservedly to serve you and obey your directives. I believe that you will take care of my needs and my future. I renew my allegiance towards you and will have no dealings with the things of darkness. I denounce my allegiance with the devil and his sinful passions. I cast you (the spirit of lust, greed, hatred and pride) into hell and I command you to stay there. I fear God and I will no longer fear men or any evil circumstances. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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