Joseph we can agree is a man of astounding character. Surely God will now reward him for being a man of such caliber. Oh no! Now what? What else can go wrong in Joseph's life? Is having such character and having so many things go wrong what I have to look forward to in my life if I model this? Soon after Joseph fled from Potiphars wife and her enticing offers to lie with her, he gets thrown into prison because of his actions, and because of Potiphars wifes lie. Human beings tend to feel trapped in a corner when they are up against something that shows what kind of people they really are. Just look at the any of the conversations Jesus had with the Pharisees. Read the account of when Moses came down the mountain and found the Israelites building their golden calf, or read the account of Daniel before being thrown to the lions, the list goes on. If we get caught in a match against someone of much higher character, we as humans will usually do anything we can to get the upper hand, even if it's an outright lie. That is exactly what happened here:
English Standard Version (ESV)
14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.”
Wow that is low! This woman has repeatedly and without relent, tempted our hero everyday and when she gets caught against the wall she lies about Joseph and his character. She not only told the authorities of the day she also told the same story to her husband who came home later that day. It says that his anger was kindled, and rightly so, if the story were true. It is remarkable to note that through all of this Joseph is not recorded in saying anything. Maybe he ran so fast that he couldn't. Either way this is another mark of the character Joseph. It is very hard to not defend yourself when you know you are in the right, this might be one of the most overwhelming times that this would be true. Joseph doesn't raise his voice, he doesn't defend himself, or even his character, but we will see what his plan, and God's plan, actually was.
Now don't get me wrong here. I would not be happy, and I'm not sure Joseph was either. Throughout his whole life, and all the stories we have read so far, Joseph hasn't really done anything to deserve what has happened to him. I often feel the same way until I really look and examine myself, and my decisions. I think Joseph's case is a litte different. His entire life he has been trying to do the right thing. Each time it seems when things are going well something catastrophic is waiting for him. I thought about how this is a recurring theme in the Scriptures, and how many characters from the Bible seem to have gone through similar types of times in their lives. I thought that this must just be how life is. I think after really studying this there is a different answer. Maybe this isn't how life is, maybe this is how God is. Maybe God allows these things to happen, not to hurt us but to teach us how to live. Maybe he uses these circumstances to build our character, from the ground up, like Joseph. Joseph was being taught by God what integrity was from the beginning of his life. Take for example the two dreams that he had. It would have been easier and much more peaceful in his life if he didn't share with his brothers the dream he had. But he didn't take the easy way out. He chose character, he chose who God wanted him to be, and accepted everything that went along with it. This situation with Potiphar's wife was no different. He fell back on his character that was given by God, and rested in the fact that God knew what he was doing. Faith equals character. Faith may be the essential attribute of a christians character. That is our problem too often. We try so hard to do what is right and to be a good person and make good decisions but we don't believe after things are out of our control that God is in control. We don't believe that God is going to mold us and shape us into the people we are called to be.
English Standard Version (ESV)
If God created us why would he not mold us and shape us into what we are to be? More importantly if we are God's workmanship why would he not sustain us through the most difficult times in our lives, so that we don't break under the pressure? We may bend a little, or bend a lot. But the answer is God will not let us break. No matter how much we want to believe that he will. Joseph knew that God wouldn't let him break, he remembered the dreams that he dreamed and the visions he saw and the promises made to him and about him. We have promises made to us in Scripture, specifically to us. In fact more than I could even list on this post. The point is that faith is essential to our character, if we want character we must have faith. I'm not talking about wishy washy faith in our fellow man, they will let you down. I'm talking about faith in the person and mighty working of our Savior Jesus Christ. Faith is the foundation of character. And the only character worth having is Godly character. We should emulate Joseph, but try to be like, exactly like, Christ. Perfect.