Genesis 39:7 – And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
Genesis 39:8 – But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
Genesis 39:9 – There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Genesis 39:10 – And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
Hello readers, hope you’ve had a good week! Today I am talking about being able to say “no” the next time. My thought is principally from Genesis 39 and particularly the verses quoted above, which details the interaction between Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Joseph famously refused the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife again and again. He said no again and again… but would we? How many days could we refuse her for, how many times can we refuse sin for? Because it is in the daily life, the day after day, the “by and by”, where our faith is truly tested.
We read in this text that Joseph was able to say “no” again and again. He did right not just as a one off, but day after day… despite the persistence of his master’s wife who really wanted him. And we admire this refusal on Joseph’s part, and the continued nature of his refusal… because for many of us, the persistent nature of the temptation to sin is what would have worn us down and gained our consent. Many of us may say no once, and have a small victory… but can we keep saying no to sin daily as it renews itself against us?
And when you consider the context of Joseph’s life, when you realize all that had happened to him to date, I’m sure we wouldn’t have even made it to where Joseph was in the first place. He was surely cherry ripe for Potiphar’s wife given the resentment and bitterness and victim mentality that could have easily possessed him given the treatment he had received. I mean, if I got treated like Joseph did, I probably would’ve blamed God and gone into rebellion a long time before. But here he is in Potiphar’s house, and he’s prospering despite the fact he’s a slave in a far land. It shows the truth of God’s word that gain is not godliness, and the prosperity gospel is a lie, because godliness with contentment is what is great gain.
But we see here a huge test of this young man’s faith. It’s all good to say we are Christians and be religious, but how do we do in real life when things get real. And this is going to really challenge what is in his heart. If there is lust and sin hidden in there waiting for it’s chance… here is where it gets it’s chance. And that’s what our trials are about, they bring out what is deep within. And that can be scary. Because inside our state can be really quite poor. I think of the scripture “as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. What you are in your heart and mind which you’ve hidden from everyone else… that’s what you really are.
So Potiphar’s wife has seen him, she wants him, and he’s going to tell her no… but she’s not going to take no for an answer. And we are going to see an example of the word “persistence”. Because persistence is often what breaks us. Be sure that Satan, this world and your flesh aren’t just going to go away at the first no. Faith is a fight. And we are going to have a fight all the way to our dying day. Getting saved is entering a battle, and the truth is that before long, we are going to realize in our strength we cannot do it… we need God’s grace every day.
And that’s one thing I also thought about. Often we consign God’s grace to a one time experience back when we got saved. But the reality is, we need God’s grace every moment. This life is all about trusting God to be saved by his grace, but we also need his grace to live saved. That faith that saved you is the same faith to live it and his grace is just as much required the whole way through. We so often fall into the trap of living Christian in the energy and strength of our flesh… which is why we experience so much futility and failure. But clearly in Joseph’s life we see the grace of God for each day in his life. He had a no for Potiphar’s wife every single day. And that’s incredible to me.
His no actually meant no. Often our no is not a real no. And in the face of persistent temptation and seduction and enticement and all of her rationalizations and appeals and baited hooks… he maintained his no. But imagine if Joseph had said no the first time, but the next time he says yes. What would that no at the start really be worth? Nothing. Because it’s not good enough to do right once and pat ourselves on the back… we’ve gotta be ready to say no the next time also. We have to recognize that Satan is persistent, just like Potiphar’s wife was persistent. Satan is ready, and we’ve gotta be ready too.
We have to get grace not to just say no one time, but the next time, and every time we are required to. We need God’s grace for our no to really mean no. Because if your no is anything but definite, and without a shadow of doubt, or the seed of sin being sown… that no can be turned into the yes with some persistence. Joseph’s no really meant no, and he had his no ready every single day. Clearly he really didn’t want to sin, but we fail because somewhere deep in there, we really do regard iniquity in our hearts. I’m sure Potiphar’s wife was a fairly choice woman, after all Potiphar was a high ranking and rich man… it’s logical that he had a wife to match. Joseph’s no wasn’t a reluctant no, but I wish I could no… it was a I want to honour God with my life and I’m not even going to entertain this no.
When Satan comes back with a “you sure?”, that is when our no generally changes. All he wants to do is open a negotiation with you. He’s very good at the negotiation table, and he’ll negotiate you into a complete surrender in a heartbeat. With a bit of persistence, today’s no can so easily become tomorrow’s yes. Satan can make a lot of progression with a bit of persistence. Think about the “progressive” movement. It doesn’t take ground all at once, but it is persistent, and look at the ground they’ve taken, look how many nos they’ve turned into a yes. And as I was thinking on this and how our no can turn into a yes the next time, I thought about the story of Balaam and Balak… because their story in Numbers 22 perfectly illustrates this truth.
Balak wanted to hire Balaam to curse Israel for him. Balak wanted Balaam to make God say what God hadn’t said and do what God didn’t want done. He wanted God to do what he wanted, not to do what God wanted. And he sent messengers to Balaam… and Balaam refused Balak quite emphatically. Wow well Balaam really does want to obey and honour God it seems. Balaam’s refusal seemed quite convincing. And yet we find out it wasn’t nearly as good as it had looked.
Balaam refused Balak the first time and sent Balak’s messengers on their way. God told me not to go with you and I can’t disobey God! Sounds good. But Balak wasn’t done… and he sent the messengers back to him again asking him to come and curse Israel for him and it’s a sweet deal for you man. And the next time, Balaam’s no turned into a yes. And soon enough he’s on his ass, heading down the road in complete disobedience to God all because of a tiny little bit of persistence from Balak. Balaam did not say no the next time.
And I thought about my own life in this. Because I’ve had good days, days where I’ve said no, days where I’ve done right, few though they be it seems… but then the very next day, I said yes to what the day before I refused. And I realized that it also comes down to a heart issue, because although I said no, deep down there was a yes. And persistence just brought that yes out. Balaam’s words sounded good, but his heart was no good. That’s why his no changed to a yes.
We’ve got to stay firm on what’s right and what’s wrong. We’ve got to say no the first time… and the next time. And that needs to come from internal change. That’s why salvation starts in the heart of man. God deals with the heart, in the spirit first. Salvation is a new creature even. A new creature with different desires and appetites. And that has to be there. Only God can take away our appetite for flesh and replace it with an appetite for his word. Persistence is so often not met with consistency in believers. And we are in this mess that we are in now because the persistence wore down what Christians once believed and held to. And they’re saying yes to everything now that used to be a no back then.
We are all guilty of talking the talk, but not walking the talk. We can sound good, but in our actual decisions of life is where this supposed faith is proven or disproven. Trials of our faith prove whether our faith actually has any worth or not. We should not yield to the persistence of temptations and seductions and allurements to sin and disobey God. Our no should mean no. And our no should remain a no. It should be emphatic… because if it’s not definite, you are not definite. We know with God there is no variableness or shadow of turning, and there should not be with us either. What got Samson was because he was no, no, nah, nah… yes. Persistence got him. How will we do in the face of the persistence of the temptation to sin and disobey God? When the enemy comes back, will your no still be no? You may have said no once, but will you say no the next time?
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)