My wife often shares her opinion with me about men. Perverts all.
Unfortunately, I have a hard time disputing her. Men can be dogs, if allowed to go unchecked in their behaviors.
What she doesn’t understand about men, the urge, the drive for sex ingrained in the male of the species, is quite understandable. After all, she’s a woman. The flower to the honey bee. But without that built-in urge within man, the human species would not flourish. All men have this desire, but the godly man knows when it’s healthy to act upon it. Just because the urge is there, doesn’t mean we have to give in to it. The overriding check on man’s desire for sex, and what keeps him from being like the animals, is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Self control.
Not an easy one, self-control.
I learned long ago in my management career that I could learn just as much from a bad leader as I could from a good one. And so it is true in God’s word. There are good and bad examples to learn from. In this case, a man who gave in to lust and a man who exhibited self-control. Dave and Joe. King David and Joseph, son of Jacob, to be specific.
Both men were powerful, David obviously the most powerful as King, and Joseph, second in command to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguards and chief executioner. However, when presented with an opportunity, each man’s actions were quite different. And because of their different responses in similar situations, we have been given two lessons to learn from.
King David, instead of going off to war with the other men, stayed behind in the palace and one evening, with plenty of idle time and a wandering mind, he spied a woman, Bathsheba, on an adjoining roof, bathing. And he saw she was beautiful. And he desired her. David let his lust overcome him and subsequently, after a series of bad decisions, David committed adultery, lied, and conspired to murder Bathsheba’s husband.
David, after being confronted by the prophet Nathan, later repented of his sin, but the deed was done and negative fallout from his sin was felt for generations.
Joseph was also presented with an opportunity. He had found favor in Potiphar’s eyes and was put in charge of his entire household. Potiphar’s wife, surely a beautiful and attractive woman, came on to Joseph. At first Joseph resisted her, but she continued in her pursuit. And then, alone in the house with her, she grabbed his garment and demanded he sleep with her. What would Joseph do with this opportunity? Would he give in and have relations with Potiphar’s wife? It would be so easy to give in. With no one there to catch him in the act, would Joseph behave as King David had?
Joseph knew that his master trusted him with all that he had, including his wife, but even more importantly, he knew that giving in to her would be a sin against God. Joseph pulled himself free from her grip and fled the house, leaving her behind with his jacket clutched in her hands.
Unfortunately for Joseph, she turned out to be a woman scorned and accused him of trying to rape her. Potiphar believed her and had Joseph thrown in prison. But he had done the right thing and later he was given even more responsibility as second in command to Pharaoh.
I often wonder how I would have reacted in the same circumstance. Would I have given in to my impulses or would I have enough self-control and awareness of sin to turn and run away?
So, what are the lessons to be learned from these two men?
From Joseph- 1 Corinthians 10:13- No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. God has promised me a way of escape from my temptations. It is up to me to look for the way out and like Joseph, run like the dickens.
From David- A number of lessons to be learned from David; as I mentioned earlier you can learn as much from bad leaders as you can from good. Avoid idle time. Stay busy and don’t let your thoughts wander to places they shouldn’t. Don’t allow yourself to be put in compromising situations. And lastly, in Psalm 51, David prays a prayer of repentance. In that prayer he says, For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me. David recognizes his sin.
In my prayers, as a flawed man, I pray that God will keep my sin, my weakness, ever before me, so that I won’t become complacent and fall into the trap David did. I pray that when I am tempted, that he not only show me the way of escape, but that I would run like Joseph when presented with it.
All you men take heed, recognize your weaknesses and run like the wind when temptation comes calling.