Facing Temptation

… how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? – Genesis 39:9

Joseph is here speaking to his boss’s wife, who is trying to seduce him to commit adultery with her. It would have been easy for him to give in. His family is far away; his life has been hard; no one need ever know of this opportunity to steal a little pleasure for himself. Yet, Joseph doesn’t see this as “a little fun” but as a “great wickedness.” Why?

Because Joseph realized that, ultimately, he would not be sinning against his family, or against his conscience, or even against his employer Potiphar. If he gave in to this temptation, he knew that he would be sinning against God. Every sin is a sin against God, and God knows of every sin that we commit.

Joseph recognized that—although his brothers, and the Midianites who had sold him into slavery, and Potiphar who had bought him as a slave had all in some way wronged him—God had never wronged him. God had always been faithful, true, merciful, and sufficient for Joseph’s every need. How could he then turn and sin against his loving God?

Next time you are tempted to sin—whether cheating on a test or cheating on your wife—remember what kept Joseph out of trouble and how God blessed Joseph’s life as a result. There is no such thing as a “little sin.” Every sin is a great wickedness, because it is a sin against our perfect and loving God.