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Continuing our study through the Book of Genesis, Pastor Doug Sauder taught from Genesis 39. In this message, we looked at the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, received some practical and biblical action steps to help us fight temptations, and examined why honoring God doesn’t always lead to immediate blessings.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:
New Environments Bring New Temptations (Genesis 39:1–7): What new situation do you find yourself in right now? The COVID-19 crisis has certainly brought about new and unique circumstances—and new temptations. We now have more time at home, more time in isolation, and more time to get trapped in a spiral of social media or things like online pornography. We have more time alone in our own thought life, which is always dangerous. But this is not new. As we see in Genesis 39, new situations have a tendency to bring about all manners of new temptations. For Joseph, the temptation was to take advantage of the power his master Potiphar had afforded him and the blessings God had provided him. This came in the form of Potiphar’s wife seeking to sleep with Joseph.
Temptation comes in many forms (1 John 2:16). Temptation knows our names and calls to us in moments of stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, despair, weakness, isolation, and boredom. It can chatter to us, whisper seductive traps, cut us down, and scream obscenities and lies to us. It comes when we least expect it and when we most expect it, and yet somehow we’re often just as ill-prepared for it when we expect it as we are when we don’t.
So, how does temptation come to you? What boundaries have you put in place to help you guard against it? Who do you have to keep you accountable and be able to call in moments of weakness to talk you through it? If you don’t have these things in place, it’s never too late! If you need help or guidance on how to established guardrails and find an accountability partner, send an e-mail to DanielS@CalvaryFTL.org.
There’s Always a Way Out (Genesis 39:8–12): We don’t have to be overtaken by temptation! Friends, we can respond like Joseph by resisting the devil and fleeing temptation. Genesis 39 shows us that instead of giving in to temptation when backed into a corner, Joseph chose to honor God. He didn’t want to violate Potiphar’s trust or the sacred bond of marriage, but even more, he didn’t want to dishonor God.
Joseph had established boundaries . . . guardrails to help him remain faithful to God and above reproach. That’s why when the moment came when he was tempted most intensely, he was able to flee and take the way out. You see, 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
We’re never alone in our temptations and sinful inclinations. God is always there to help us; He always provides us with a means of overcoming and escaping temptation. The Lord God Himself declared to us, “Those who honor me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30 NIV). But we must understand a few things about this honoring and blessing of God . . .
Honoring God Does Not Always Lead to Immediate Blessing (Genesis 39:13–20): We must be very clear and understand that God never promises immediate blessing for obedience. In fact, sometimes it gets more difficult. Sometimes, we’re downright treated poorly and put in worse situations when we choose to follow God and do what’s right. Look at what happened to Joseph here. The hurt pride of Potiphar’s wife led her to falsely accuse Joseph, ruin his reputation, and get him thrown in prison.
This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, when we honor God, we experience immediate blessing; but again, this is neither guaranteed nor promised. We may experience ridicule, discrimination, persecution, or unjust suffering as a result. It’s possible we may not experience the blessing of our faithfulness until we enter into eternity. But even if that’s the case, as the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:18 (NIV), “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” and reiterates in 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV), “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” So, stay strong, friends; rely not on yourself or your strength, but on the Holy Spirit. In your weakness, lean on Him and His strength, remembering that He told us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).
Resist the Temptation to Take on the Identity of a Victim (Genesis 39:21–23): The easiest thing Joseph could have done after what happened to him would have been to become bitter and angry, to become disillusioned and blame others—including God—for his circumstances. But what does that solve? How would that have helped him or anyone else? It doesn’t. In fact, it only serves to hurt us in the short and long term. Bitterness is a poison that spreads its toxicity to everyone it touches. It destroys. Victim mentality or playing the blame game doesn’t bring healing or restoration, it only causes us to stay trapped in our hurt and a slave to the past. This is exactly what the devil wants! He wants us to take on the identity of victim and remain there. But God wants everyone to know that His plan for us, just like for Joseph, is for our good and it’s right on schedule. He is working all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His great and glorious purposes (Romans 8:28). No amount of persecution, suffering, or evil scheming can overcome God’s favor or derail God’s plan.
Joseph resisted the temptation to take on the victim identity. Instead, he maintained his trust in God and, as we’ll see in the coming weeks, God used his circumstances to bring about the greatest good for him and so many others.
Quote to Remember: Guardrails are there for a reason! We are all human and need real boundaries.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: What’s the craziest situation you’ve ever found yourself in?
Discussion Question 1: Despite having just been sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to a foreign land, Joseph still found himself gaining the favor of his master Potiphar. What kinds of situations do people find themselves in that are beyond their control?
Discussion Question 2: This weekend, Pastor Doug shared that new environments bring new temptations. How can you prepare yourself beforehand for the moments when you encounter temptation?
Discussion Question 3: What are some specific ways you’ve seen God’s power at work in your life when you’ve faced temptations? What role did faith play in those situations?
Discussion Question 4: According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, there’s always a way out. How does this passage help you understand the resources God has given you to resist sin and flee from temptation? What resources does God give followers of Jesus to resist sin? How can you lean into Him and the tools He provides you with?
Discussion Question 5: Why are there often worldly consequences for resisting sin? How does the story of Joseph—or Daniel, who we learned about earlier this year—help motivate believers to resist sin and embrace the consequences?
Discussion Question 6: James 1:13 (NIV) says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” What’s the danger of taking on a victim identity?
WALK IT OUT
Ponder: Read Romans 8:28–39. Here, we learn a few things. First, God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes, including temptation. Second, regardless of the seemingly difficult circumstances we face and the struggles we experience, Paul reminds us that we’re never victims, but we’re more than conquerors through Him who loves us! How can you walk more intentionally in that victory Christ won for you this week?
Practice: What new temptations have you found yourself struggling with in the midst of our new “normal” during the pandemic? Sit down this week and do some self-evaluation. Make a list and then connect with a friend or mentor to help keep you accountable.
Pray: In prayer this week, thank God for the power He gives you to overcome the temptations you face and ask for the guidance of His Spirit in the circumstances and situations that often bring about temptation in your life.
QUESTIONS FOR FAMILIES
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
Ice Breaker: What’s the craziest scene from your favorite movie?
Discussion Question 1: Joseph found himself in some crazy situations. Have you ever felt like something was outside of your control?
Discussion Question 2: Have you ever been tempted to do something you weren’t supposed to? Is there something you can think about, or do, or say so you won’t do what you’re tempted to do the next time it happens?
Discussion Question 3: How do you think your faith in Jesus will help you do what’s right instead of what’s wrong?
Discussion Question 4: Do you think the Bible can help you fight against the urge to do something that’s wrong? How?
Discussion Question 5: Would you still do what’s right when your friends encourage you to do what’s wrong? When we read the story of Joseph, or Daniel, we can see how doing what’s right is important even when it’s unpopular.
Ponder: How can you be ready to make the right choice when you’re tempted to make the wrong choice this week?
Practice: Parents, ask your kids if they’ve been tempted with technology during quarantine. Depending on their age, it could be they’re tempted to spend more time than they’re allowed, to be mean to their siblings over technology, or maybe their tempted to look at or watch things they aren’t supposed to watch.
Pray: Dear God, thank You for giving me the power to make the right choice, even when I want to do something I shouldn’t. Help me to do what’s right even when I don’t want to. Amen!
START A NEW BIBLE PLAN!
Looking to dive deeper into your relationship with Jesus this summer? Or maybe you want to grow in a specific area or have some hard questions answered? We’ve got you covered! Sign up for one of our latest Bible plans! From brand-new plans on studying the Bible and prayer to plans on relationships, sharing the gospel, experiencing peace, overcoming anger, finding fulfillment, or studies through books of the Bible, we have a variety of awesome resources for you, no matter what season of life you’re in, to grow in your faith and study the Bible.
To view our reading plans, click here.
A LOOK AHEAD
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE.
Join us this Wednesday for part four of the powerful Alpha class where we’ll discuss the nature of faith, or sign up for one of our other great classes. From apologetics to essentials of the faith to finances, these online classes will help you get to know Jesus and learn valuable and practical ways to experience the life God created you for.
Then on the weekend, we’ll continue our study through the Book of Genesis as Fort Lauderdale campus HSM leader Javan Shashaty teaches from Genesis 40. In this message, we’ll explore how Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker in prison and discover how God uses difficult situations in our lives to teach us something.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
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Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.