September 11, 2014

The First Test: Loyalty

Genesis 39:6-20

[Joseph] 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.”
—Genesis 39:8


If Joseph had slept with Potiphar’s wife, what sins would he have committed? Of course, one would be adultery. But there would have been more, and Joseph saw that clearly.

The sins of breaking trust, of failing to fulfill a solemn task, of violating a sacred responsibility—these can shatter relationships and make reconciliation immensely difficult. When an athlete violates the rules by using banned substances, when an investment manager misuses other people’s money, when a public official uses intimidation or cover-up—these are deadly sins that bring ruin into many people’s lives.

Joseph, who was highly conscientious and responsible, was fully aware of the trust placed in him by Potiphar. That gave him the moral clarity to view adultery with Potiphar’s wife as “a wicked thing” and a “sin against God.”

Joseph passed the test of loyalty again and again, but Potiphar’s wife managed to frame him and get him thrown into prison. Now he had to bear more injustice and suffering.

As a steward, Joseph had served with unwavering loyalty to fulfill the responsibilities placed on him. Many readers have noted that this is also what Jesus did; he came to do the will of the Father who sent him, despite the suffering he faced for our sake.

O God, help us to be faithful to you in all we do. May nothing distract us from fulfilling the work you have entrusted to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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