I love the story of Joseph. There is just so much happening. I mean from a self-centred young teenager to second in command to the King of Egypt...pretty cool. As a young teenager, he was pretty much an obnoxious jerk (quoting my friend Enn in his blog 'Meanwhile, God Orchestrates'). But somewhere between the cistern and Potiphar's house, Joseph did some incredible maturing.
To the point that, when being seduced by Potiphar's wife, he could respond in a manner more mature than many men two and three times his age.
But 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. No 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?”
I identify the maturity, not only in his refusal and explanation, but also in the very last phrase when he pinpoints the true reason why he could never do such a thing.
You would think that after explaining the incredible trust that his master had put in him and the level of responsibility that he had been given by his master that his final phrase would have been 'How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against my master...Potiphar?' But that's not what he says. Instead he finishes with the phrase 'and sin against God'.
It made me think, we don't hear that kind of language much anymore. We live in a society where people rationalize their sin away with language like 'well, I'm not hurting anyone' or 'as long as he doesn't find out' and one of my special favourites 'we are consenting adults'. Even our secret sin gets justified because we think that nobody knows. Somehow in a world where anything goes, where people make their own rules, and the simple sense of right and wrong is incredibly skewed, there seems to be no room in the picture for God at all any longer.
And here's a newsflash. If you think that your sin (that's what God calls it) isn't hurting anyone - including you - you're only fooling yourself. I could let you talk to some of my friends who will tell you that what is done in secret, eventually gets proclaimed from the rooftops and leaves a trail of broken people behind.
But the thing is - it hurts God too. When I sin, I am acting in a way completely contrary to how God created me to act. My sin affects God. And it affects my relationship with Him.
David understood this. Ps. 51:4 'Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.'
You know, if I could get this...if we all could get this down deep in our spirits...it would change the way we live. Sin, which seems to happen so naturally sometimes and that we justify with a simple 'I'm not perfect and I fail', could no longer be explained away without a true realization that the same sin is an act AGAINST God. I'm not saying everyone would stop sinning immediately - but I would hope it would be sobering enough that it would make us think twice, and even alter our course before we decided to fall into the same sin trap again.
Hopefully, we don't have to be thrown into a cistern and then sold to a traveling caravan into slavery to get the point.
Think about it.