By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
I Peter 3:17 says, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” Peter wrote this but Joseph lived it.
I often stop and look back at some of the moments in my life and am in awe how God protected me from the evil in me or the evil attempted against me. Our God is awesome.
I wonder if Joseph did that as well. I imagine Joseph, after being reconciled to his family and hailed as the hero of Egypt, looking back on all the suffering and circumstances in his life that God used for his good. I’m sure he never forgot that fateful day in Potiphar’s house when he suffered such harm simply for doing what is right.
Joseph had two choices that day with two likely outcomes.
The first we see played out in Scripture as he maintained his integrity at great cost.
The second option would have been to give in to Potiphar’s wife. He could have given in to her temptation and he could have avoided the prison, stayed in Potiphar’s house, lived and died in peace as a slave and then be forgotten.
Joseph made the right choice and it cost him dearly. He was falsely accused, condemned and left to die imprisoned but God had other plans. Sometimes it may seem safer or simpler to give in to temptation in the moment and compromise our convictions but we may not know until glory what eternal blessings we have forfeited for the sake of our sin or simplicity.
Joseph resisted temptation and his integrity took him all the way to the prison but God honored him and took him from the prison to the palace.
I’m often curious if Joseph ever visited his old master and the wife who caused him so much pain. It’s likely their paths would have crossed as Joseph ruled under Pharaoh. Scripture doesn’t say but I wonder what that would have been like, don’t you? We don’t know.
Here’s what God’s Word does let us know. Joseph resisted the temptation of timidity before his brothers and he was made a slave for it, he resisted the temptation to sleep with his master’s wife and he was made a criminal for it, he resisted the temptation to be bitter throughout and he was forgotten for it. Joseph consistently resisted the abundant temptation to sin against God by sinning against those who did him such harm. God raised him up, redeemed him and restored him.
Joseph had every opportunity to take the easy way, to compromise, but he held his integrity perfectly throughout and God blessed him and many others for it.
It is truly better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.