Vision

In Paul's second letter to Timothy he writes, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man [and woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17) My prayer for this ministry is that by rightly dividing the Scriptures, I might be able to facilitate all those aspects of the Scriptures to the benefit of all those who visit this website.

Mission

The mission of this ministry is to be consistent with Jesus' original command to his disciples: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" Matthew 28:18-20

Personal Disclosure

I am a fellow traveler who doesn't have all the answers and still makes many mistakes. However, I am desperately in love with Jesus Christ, the one and only King of kings, and I am so amazed that he knows exactly who I am and yet still died on the cross for me, then rose from the dead and called me to be His follower!

God's Message To You

"Dear Child,

I wanted you to know just how much I loved you so I sent my only Son, Jesus, to tell you and show you. If you make the decision to believe in Him, then you and I will be able to spend eternity together! I Love You!" (John 3:16 paraphrase)

Method

“Here there is no unanchored liberalism—freedom to think without commitment.

Here there is no encrusted dogmatism—commitment without freedom to think.

Here is vibrant evangelicalism—freedom to think within the bounds laid down by Scripture.”

Dr. Vernon Grounds

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

You Are Who You Are When No One Is Looking


(Audio version; Music: "Forever Lifted Higher"--by Eric Hochhalter--WorshipMob)



Introduction

            In 2013, the President of the United States received the dubious honor of having uttered the “Lie of the Year” according to PolitiFact when he misled the American people about a key component of the signature piece of legislation that bears his name. Unfortunately for the President this week, a series of video recordings were made public featuring one of the prominent architects of the President’s landmark piece of legislation. In the recordings, the heralded college professor boasts how he worked with the President in the privacy of the President’s office on exactly how certain aspects of the legislation could be drafted so as to successfully deceive the American people in order to enact the legislation. As embarrassing as these revelations may be for the person holding the highest office in the land, it is a crushing indictment of him as a person. Here’s why—does it really matter what he says when you’re watching him if he’s deceiving you when you’re not? Let’s put aside the President’s perfidious behavior, it just happens to be the most public because of his position. You can see this behavior at work around you all the time—at work you know the employee who says and does all the right things in the presence of the boss and then says and does virtually the opposite when not in the presence of the boss. You go to school with the person who seems to be able to breeze through class to the delight of the teacher or professor only to learn that this student’s proficiency is attributed to cleverly disguised cheating. Let me ask you a few questions: Is lying only wrong if you get caught? Is cheating only wrong if you get caught? Is stealing only wrong if you get caught? There are clearly some people that would answer ‘yes’ to all these questions. Most people, however, fully acknowledge that these things are wrong regardless of whether or not anyone knows or whether or not you are caught. Remember, one of the things that made Jesus so angry was the religious leaders who spoke and behaved one way for public consumption but were vile hypocrites in the private company of their peers. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones (Mt 23:27). He also said that there is nothing hidden that won’t one day be revealed (Lk 8:17). The question is, what will Jesus reveal in you? Will the person that no one sees be revealed to be the same person that everyone sees? Don’t misunderstand me, this is not a matter of perfection because we all make mistakes. Instead, it is a matter of integrity because You Are Who You Are When No One Is Looking. There are countless examples of men and women of integrity throughout the pages of the bible but I want to look at one in particular this week found in the pages of Genesis.

Subject Text

Genesis 39:2-23

          2The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now 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. 13When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14she 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. 15When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.16She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” 19When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Context

            This is such a good story that starts way back in Chapter 37 where we find that Jacob has twelve sons and the youngest one is Joseph. We also learn that Joseph is the favored son and is treated that way by his father. In fact, Jacob goes so far as to make Joseph a very special coat that Joseph proudly showed off to his brothers. At the same time, God gave Joseph dreams that prophesied the day when his whole family would bow down before him. However, Joseph would have to endure much pain and sorrow before that day would arrive. Joseph’s brothers had their fill of their father’s favoritism and Joseph’s boasting about one day ruling over his brothers that they dropped him in an empty cistern and told his father that he was killed and torn to pieces by a wild animal. However some of Joseph’s brothers had second thoughts about dropping their brother in a cistern to die. But it’s not what you think. A few of them got to thinking that it would be a waste to leave Joseph down in that cistern where he would die and they would get nothing out of it other than the satisfaction of getting rid of him. So they decided to hoist him out and sell him to a passing caravan that was headed to Egypt. When the caravan arrived in Egypt, Joseph was purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Once the favored son of Jacob who would become the nation of Israel, Joseph was now a slave in a foreign country far away from his father who believed he was dead. You might think that you learned all you needed to know about Joseph when he was strutting around his father’s home like a proud peacock wearing the colorful coat his father made for him. But we don’t learn much about people when all is well and things are going smoothly and a wonderful life is on parade for all to see and admire. We learn most about people when things go bad and they’re banished to a life they didn’t chose; a life of severe pressure and stress. This was the new life for Joseph; a life of relative obscurity. But this is when we find out just what kind of man Joseph is because You Are Who You Are When No One Is Looking.

Text Analysis

          2The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master

            One of the most difficult things to understand is that God doesn’t function the way we would or the way we think He should. If you didn’t know the whole story of Joseph, would v. 2 make sense to you? We read over this verse without thinking much about it but what if you didn’t know how God was going to use Joseph to save Israel? Try and put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. It’s not like God gave him an advanced plan so that he could just bide his time until everything unfolded and he would once again be the star. For all Joseph knew, being an Egyptian slave would be the rest of his life. There must have been times, even for Joseph, when he wondered if God had abandoned him. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re not trapped as an Egyptian slave but you’re trapped in a life that for a variety of reasons is killing your soul or maybe your body and you’re convinced that God has abandoned you. What if you could step outside of your life and view it from God’s perspective to see that God hasn’t abandoned you and is, in fact, using the events of your life to accomplish something magnificent in you for your benefit and through you for the benefit of others. Isn’t that kind of what you’re doing when you read our Subject Text? You are standing on the outside of Joseph’s life and watching how God orchestrated the events of his life to accomplish something great in him and through him for the benefit of others. If you are one of God’s children; His friend, He is doing the same thing in and through you even if you don’t feel it or can’t see it. God is “with” you in the same way that He was “with” Joseph. “Clearly, Yahweh was not restricted to the shrines and patriarchs erected in Canaan. He was a universal God who acted beyond the borders of the Promised Land…God’s sovereignty was at work to bring about his purpose. Despite the hateful acts of his brothers…God was acting to fulfill his purposes, and nothing could thwart it, not even the evil intents of misguided individuals…Throughout the story, God’s protection is evident, his protection of Joseph as well as that of Jacob’s family.”[1]

          3When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

            There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “When God gives you lemons, make lemonade.” You could say that God gave Joseph an entire trainload of lemons but Joseph appeared to use them all in vv. 3-6a. A person’s character isn’t measured when life is on cruise control. The depth of a person’s character can best be measured when life is crashing in on them. Joseph could have lamented the hand that God dealt him but he didn’t. Instead, Joseph allowed God to use him for His grand purpose. As a result, Joseph and all those associated with Joseph prospered. Think about this, Joseph was in charge of all the affairs of this very power official in Pharaoh’s administration. Joseph was free to do whatever was needed to carry out his daily task for Potiphar but he was not free—Joseph was the property of Potiphar. You have to realize what this says about Joseph. Joseph didn’t wait for conditions to be ideal to be obedient to God; to lean into the plan God had for him at that moment in his life. Look, Joseph still doesn’t know the big picture of God’s plan. It’s not like he knows how his actions will play into future events that will serve to perpetuate God’s ultimate plan concerning Israel. Joseph serves Potiphar faithfully because that’s who he is not because he knows how the story will end. Remember, for all Joseph knows, he will never be free again and will die in Egypt as a slave. We know God has a greater plan for Joseph but he doesn’t know that. Joseph has no idea that we would be reading about him thousands of years after he was dead. Joseph wasn’t performing for anyone who might be watching and that’s what is so important to remember here—You Are Who You Are When No One Is Looking! And Joseph would prove this point emphatically later in our Subject Text. “We have seen in the preceding narrative that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob repeatedly fell short of God’s expectations, though, of course, they continued to have faith in God. In the narratives about Joseph, however, we do not see him fall short. On the contrary, Joseph is a striking example of one who always responds in total trust and obedience to the will of God. Behind these narratives lies an emphasis that has been little felt in the earlier stories, where the stress has been on God’s overriding commitment and faithfulness to the promises…There is a human part to be played in the fulfillment of God’s promises. When God’s people respond with ‘righteousness and justice,’ as does Joseph, their way and God’s blessing will prosper.”[2]

          Now 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.

            It is one of the great frustrations in the life of being a follower that no sooner do we survive one battle and begin to thrive that we are confronted with some other challenge to our faith and obedience. It can be wearisome and can push us to the brink of giving up. Say what you will about Joseph’s lot in life, he seemed to have reached the point where he could enjoy the lemonade he managed to squeeze out of the lemons God gave him. But vv. 6b-10 demonstrate that God is never really done preparing those He intends on using for something bigger down the road and Joseph is no exception. Aside from his freedom, Joseph pretty much had it made. He probably didn’t want for much of anything and had the autonomous authority to act on behalf of his master, Potiphar. It was the perfect life in the midst of imperfect conditions. What could go wrong? Well part of the imperfect conditions for Joseph are the same as those we face every day—doing life in the midst of a sinful, self-prioritizing world that either doesn’t know God or has rejected Him. Joseph finds himself in a terrible quandary when Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce him into going to bed with her. Without being overly graphic, she wants Joseph to have sex with her. Again, we know the story so we don’t sense the monumental stress this must have placed on Joseph. Think about it in terms of your own life. What if your boyfriend or girlfriend threatened to break up with you if you didn’t agree to have sex with them? What if your boss offered you a raise or promotion in exchange for sex or what if you were threated with losing your job if you didn’t? What if a teacher offered to reward you with an “A” in class if you agreed to have sex or threatened you with an “F” if you didn’t? Think about it in terms of something other than sex since infidelity and sex outside of marriage isn’t all that uncommon these days. What if you had the opportunity for a raise or promotion and all you had to do was cut a few corners and maybe just cheat a little? What if you had the opportunity to get an “A” in class without having to do all the work required by cheating just a bit here and there? What would you do if you had the chance to get what you want; get ahead; become successful; get rich; have it all by being dishonest if you believed that no one would ever find out? Would you do it? That was the decision that Joseph had to make when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. Who would know? Who would dare tell even if they did know? Aside from Potiphar, the deception involved the two most powerful people—Potiphar’s wife and Potiphar’s right-hand man. If they didn’t say anything, no one would ever know. But we learn a little more about Joseph when he refuses the advances of Potiphar’s wife. Joseph knows that Potiphar trusts him implicitly and that is more valuable to him than the short time of personal satisfaction he might experience if he agreed to go to bed with Potiphar’s wife even if no one ever found out about it. But whether or not anyone ever finds out is irrelevant to Joseph because he knows that God would know about it and that’s all that really matters to Joseph. Joseph had to know that he was in a lose-lose position from a human perspective—if he concede to the wife’s advances, he would have offended Potiphar but if he refused the wife, he ran the very real risk of offending her. However, from a divine perspective, Joseph had only one choice that wouldn’t offend God and he chose correctly regardless of what the temporal consequences of that decision may have been. Adultery was a serious matter in many cultures of the ancient near east including Egypt. “The Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers, echoing the sentiments expressed by Joseph to Potiphar’s wife, calls adultery a ‘great crime,’ which is not even to be considered by an honest man or woman. This was an attack on a man’s household, stealing his rights to procreate and endangering the orderly transmission of his estate to his heirs. The act itself defiled both participants. Since it was not only an attack on the sanctity of the household, but also a source of general contamination, adultery served as a reason for God to expel the people [of Israel] from the land.”[3] Let me repeat something, even the Egyptians considered adultery to be a serious crime and not something an “honest” man or woman would consider. We really don’t know anything about Potiphar’s wife but let me ask you something, do you think this was the first time Potiphar’s wife either considered or did something that was less than honest? To believe that she went from being honest and honorable to suddenly wanting to jump into bed with someone other than her husband stretches credulity especially since she daily persists in wanting to seduce Joseph according to v. 10. There is no reason to believe that the public’s perception of her was anything other than honorable but the person she presented for public consumption obviously did not reflect who she was privately and who she was privately tells us everything we need to know about her because You Are Who You Are When No One Is Looking.

          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. 13When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14she 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. 15When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

            If you had any doubts about this woman, vv. 11-15 should tell you all you need to know about the kind of person she is. Imagine what these days must have been like for Joseph who was simply trying to go about his daily chores. Try to put yourself in Joseph shoes except that you don’t have the option of not going to work or not going to school or staying at home and hiding. Joseph had specific duties that made it impossible to avoid coming into contact with Potiphar’s wife. What’s more, if Joseph failed to perform his daily duties, he would have had to explain why. What could he do? What would you have done? Go to work and he has to face Potiphar’s wife. Don’t go to work and he has to face Potiphar and answer why. It would be so easy to just go to bed with her and get it over with. No one would know and life could just get back to normal. Would it really be so terrible to have sex with Potiphar’s wife? I mean the text doesn’t say that she’s an ugly old hag or anything. Potiphar’s a pretty important man so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that his wife was beautiful. How bad would it be and then maybe she would leave him alone. And besides, God can’t possibly expect him to be faithful under such extreme circumstances. Come on, be honest, wouldn’t these thoughts be going through your mind? It can’t possibly be adultery under these coercive circumstances could it? Could you be faithful under similar circumstances? Well Joseph is. Joseph is faithful and his faithfulness would cost him the few freedoms he did enjoy. Joseph was faithful to go to work and Potiphar’s wife was there waiting for him. Since her passive attempts to entice Joseph failed, she becomes more aggressive and physical with Joseph but he refuses to surrender to her new advances and this time abandons his duties leaving his coat still clutched in her hands. So she does what seems most natural to her, she lies! There’s an old saying that seems to apply to Potiphar’s wife, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” She screams and when her servants arrive, she accuses Joseph of attempting to rape her. Joseph is in serious trouble for sure but Joseph did all he could do and that was to be faithful and obedient to God. I know some of you are thinking that it would have been better if Joseph had just given in this one time. I mean, God is all about grace isn’t he? But there are some of you who are wondering why God doesn’t do something to rescue him. He certainly could if He wanted to, right? Those are both fair questions. In fact, how many times have you asked those questions when faced with the choice to be faithful or compromise? Can God forgive your compromise? Yes. Can God miraculously save you from your circumstances? Yes. But what if there’s another option? What if God wants to use you through whatever consequences you might have to endure as a result of your faithfulness? Is it possible that there is something more important than trying to avoid what might be dire consequences of being faithful? We know the right answer but I know from personal experience how hard it is to accept and believe. But hopefully the story of Joseph can be an example of what faithfulness looks like and how God can use that faithfulness even though it seems to us that there must be a better way for God to accomplish His will. “The story of the spurned woman who takes her revenge on the upright male is doubtless a universal one, because such situations recur in every generation in every society. But this tale is no more included to applaud male propriety over female infidelity than the story of Tamar and Judah [Gen 38] is inserted to prove the reverse…Undoubtedly, Joseph is here portrayed as a model, the wise man who fears God, who is totally loyal and dependable.”[4]

          16She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” 19When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

            With nothing to show for her efforts and having been thoroughly rejected by Joseph, Potiphar’s wife repeats the deceitful accusation to her husband in vv. 16-20a when he returns from wherever he happened to be. It seems clear that she has managed to hide her true self even from him. Why else would the text tell us that he became furious. Would he really be that angry if he suspected that she may have initiated the confrontation with Joseph? Probably not. Imagine how Potiphar must have felt when he heard his wife accuse Joseph of trying to rape her. He might have doubted her were it not for the fact that she had Joseph’s cloak. He trusted Joseph! He put Joseph in charge of everything! Did Joseph really think no one would find out? If you’ve never experience profound betrayal then it may be difficult for you to understand how Potiphar might have felt. The text doesn’t say but would it really be that difficult to imagine that Potiphar and Joseph had become friends over the years? The text tells us that Potiphar was very angry but I wonder if he wasn’t even more hurt by what he believed was a betrayal by a trusted friend. It can be hard to tell the difference when we read the story in the Bible but some of us know the difference very well. For those of us who have been betrayed by someone close to us, we know the difference. The anger is real but the pain of betrayal makes the flame of anger burn red-hot. As a result, Joseph is rewarded for his faithfulness with imprisonment in a prison reserved especially for the king’s prisoner. Don’t miss what just happened here. Potiphar was well within his right to have Joseph put to death immediately. Instead, he incarcerates Joseph with the king’s political prisoners—prison yes but not exactly hard time. Was there still a soft spot for Joseph in Potiphar’s heart of or was this really just the next part of God’s will for Joseph? I believe it’s both. If you didn’t know the story then you would probably never think that it would be God’s will for Joseph to be falsely accused and then go to prison but that’s exactly what happens and it puts Joseph on the precise path necessary to accomplish the next part of God’s plan to care for Israel. However, Joseph didn’t know that. All he knew was that he was faithful and obedient to God and that landed him in prison. What do you suppose must have been going through Joseph’s mind? He was innocent, faithful, and obedient but now he’s sitting in prison. Wow! It hardly seems worth it and it certainly doesn’t seem fair. Nevertheless, this is who Joseph is as a person and this is precisely the kind of person that God will use to do great things. “[Potiphar’s wife] did not disturb the physical scene, keeping the garment at her side. She repeated essentially the same commentary as before, but she bluntly burdened Potiphar with culpability for the crime, since he had elevated the ‘Hebrew slave’ in the household…She blames Potiphar, and she implies that he had better do something about it. She explained that the slave ran, escaping at her scream. She cast Joseph in as poor a light as possible. First, he took advantage of the favor Potiphar had shown him, and second, Joseph was an inept rogue. She, on the other hand, was the innocent damsel in distress who valiantly screamed. Such provoking vividness in her lie inflamed the passions of the offended husband…[The term] ‘his master’ reinforces the idea of the power that Potiphar had over the life of Joseph, and their master-slave relationship exacerbated the alleged betrayal. She does not let this pass when she belittles Potiphar’s lack of control and judgment…Only after hearing the emphatic accusation ‘your slave’ does the master become incensed. His wife ignites his rage when she rubs the betrayal in his face. Since he ‘burned with anger,’ it is surprising that he did not demand Joseph’s death. The hidden hand of God preserves the young man’s life once again.”[5]

Application

          But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

If vv. 20b-23 don’t cement in your mind the type of man Joseph was then you haven’t been paying attention. These final verses serve as the perfect application for our lesson. Joseph’s station in life continues to go backwards. In case being a slave in a foreign country wasn’t bad enough, Joseph is now in prison as a slave in a foreign country. Nevertheless, we learn that Joseph picked up in prison right where he left off with his diligent service to Potiphar. Soon the prison warden put Joseph in charge of all prison matters to such an extent that the warden didn’t even pay any attention to what Joseph was doing. Joseph didn’t sulk; he didn’t complain; he didn’t question, and we never see him blame God for his circumstances. Instead, he was faithful precisely where God placed him. There will be times in all of our lives when we might feel justified in watering down God’s call to be faithful and obedient; when we will have an opportunity to compromise; an opportunity to cut corners; an opportunity to cheat; an opportunity to lie, whether you’re the President of the United States or a student sitting in a classroom. How you respond to those opportunities will say everything about the kind of person you are. You see, finding more and more clever ways of getting away with lying, cheating, and stealing doesn’t enhance your character it defines it. Your public persona is irrelevant if it contradicts your private persona because it renders your public persona a fa├žade that will one day be removed to reveal the real you. The current President of the United States is learning that lesson the hard way right now. When he was first elected, there was great hope that things would be different when he promised to inaugurate the most transparent administration in history. Six years later, his administration is considered by many people as the least transparent administration in modern American history and in place of the honorable military title of Commander In Chief he is often referred to by the dubious title of Liar In Chief. He was in the ideal position to be faithful and put that faithfulness to good use—he had money, power, and popularity. Instead, most Americans have come to realize that very little of what he says can be trusted as more of his deceptive plans concocted in private are revealed. Complete freedom doesn’t generate faithfulness just like complete lack of freedom doesn’t generate unfaithfulness. Circumstances can’t dictate the degree to which we are willing to be faithful. Joseph’s character isn’t manufactured, it’s just who he is. It is forged in the furnace of his relationship with God. Hidden in the depths of prison where no on is watching, including those who were specifically in charge of watching him, Joseph is still the same faithful man because You Are Who You Are When No One Is Looking.




[1] Willem A. VanGemeren, gen. ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, Vol. 4, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), p. 808.
[2] Tremper Longman III & David E. Garland, gen. ed., Genesis-Leviticus: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 280.
[3] T. Desmond Alexander & David W. Baker, eds., Dictionary of the Old Testament Pentateuch, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), p. 296.
[4] Gordon Wenham, Genesis 16-50—Word Biblical Commentary, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publisher, 1994), pp. 377-378.
[5] Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26—The New American Commentary, Vol. 1B, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2005), pp. 736-737.