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A View from the Altar / How to miss the will of God
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How to miss the will of God

Genesis 39:12  And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

The number of priests and pastors disgraced for sexual reasons is not small.  We’re aware of the ones who achieve national fame and then do a moral souffle, but for every one of these, there are many more of local stature who get involved sexually with somebody and make a shipwreck of the ministry.  Sometimes they get quietly moved on to the next church, and sometimes they get exposed badly enough to be booted from the ministry.

These are the people about whom others said, “God has a special plan for his life.”  Now they’re reduced to a walking calamity, wreaking havoc in the body of Christ, completely lost from the will of God.

God obviously had special plans for Joseph’s life which not even the cruelty of jealous brothers could defeat.  His God-given dreams apparently displeased his father, but so angered his brothers that they kidnapped him, sold him as a slave, and lied to Jacob saying Joseph was dead.  God overruled all this for Joseph’s ultimate good.

Joseph did face one test in which he held his future in his hands and easily could have destroyed everything.  Potiphar’s wife lusted for him and openly asked Joseph to have sex with her.  Eventually her demands became aggressive enough that she seized him by his garment, but Joseph ran from her, leaving the garment in her hand.  Spurned and indignant, maybe also fearful that Joseph would tell, she accused him of trying to rape her, a charge Potiphar obviously did not believe, but nonetheless she succeeded in having Joseph thrown into prison.  It was in prison that he eventually met the butler and the baker, interpreted their dreams, the news of which came to Pharaoh and which eventually led to Joseph becoming the executive officer of the whole nation.

Consider what would have happened if Joseph had given in to her demands.  Either Potiphar would have discovered it or he would not.  If he had, Joseph would have been executed immediately.  God would have raised a deliverance for Israel by some other means, but Joseph’s part in the saving of his nation would have ended right there.  If Potiphar had not found out, then Joseph would have carried on an adulterous affair until she was tired of him, and Joseph would have remained a slave in a foreigner’s house till the end of his days.

The way to miss the will of God is to sin.  All the matters that typically worry humans were guided by the Providence of God.  Think about it: The slave traders could have been traveling north as well as south, but God worked out the timing so that he got Joseph to his destination.  And any rich man might have bought Joseph, but God arranged for him to be in Potiphar’s house, and all the rest of the story unfolded according to the unseen, irresistible hand of God.

Only one piece of this was ever actually in Joseph’s hand, and that was the moral decision of how to respond to a sexually immoral woman.  If Joseph had made the wrong moral choice, he would have missed the will of God.  The Bible assures us that the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord. (Psa 37:23-24)  Walk in holiness, and you cannot miss God’s will.  Walk in sin, and you’ll never find it.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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