Are Sex Rules Pro-Women?

Do all the stipulations in the Bible on sex benefit women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On yesterday’s blog, some commenters on Facebook thought that I had given the impression that in this society, women were only valued for sex. They were pretty much objects. One did rightly see I was trying to point out the sacredness of sex, but that didn’t come across that way.

So today, I want to clear things up as to why the Bible has these rules and if they are good for women or not.

Let’s start with something. I do think our society is led by men. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for women. When men are being men, they will look out for the women around them. I suspect there weren’t many feminists on the Titanic who were objecting when it was said “Women and children first!”

A man who abuses and/or uses a woman is not being a man really. He’s being less of a man. If you view yourself as a leader in society, your goal is to build up those around you and not to tear them down. Any man if he wants to can take a woman’s body. Not any man can take her heart. That requires that he be a real man and one she is willing to entrust her heart to.

So let’s look at some other realities. Are some men more tempted to just look at women as sex objects? Yes. Pornography is a great example of this. If anything has taught men to treat women as objects, it’s pornography.

In the ancient world, this would also be the natural temptation of men. After all, men by nature of the chemicals and hormones in their bodies tend to have very high sex drives. Not all do and in some marriages, the woman actually has the higher drive. We’re speaking of averages here.

A man and a woman would often get together immediately in an arranged marriage and then you could be introducing yourselves to one another and then sleeping together immediately as husband and wife. Why this way? Because sex is meant to be a bonding act. It releases scores of hormones and chemicals that bind the two people to one another.

This is one reason Christians safeguard this so much. Not because sex is anything dirty. After all, the joke is that many Christians are taught two things about sex growing up. #1. It’s dirty. #2. I should save it for someone I love.

Sex is in a sense like nuclear energy. If you use it the way it was meant to be used, wonderful things can happen. If you use it in a way it’s not meant to be used, Chernobyl can happen. Do we see this? Yes. Look at most any talk show on where they talk about who is the father of who and see it. Look at single mothers who have been kicked to the curb by a guy because he thought someone hotter came along or he didn’t want to get married. Sadly, look at our divorce culture where too many people don’t take their vows seriously and many times, one person is rejected and abandoned over it.

In sharing my own story of divorce, I have had men share stories with me that leave me thankful I didn’t go through that and I have heard stories in DivorceCare that are indeed horrendous. Even harder is the fact that so many men and women jump into relationships immediately before they are ready because of the intense loneliness. Some have said that being divorced is worse than the other person dying and I am inclined to agree. Death is normally not intentional. Divorce is.

The rules of the Old Testament also started with people where they were. Let’s face it again. Guys are very much driven by sex and our natural tendency will be the path of least resistance to get what we want. We were originally designed to use our drive for the good of the other. Now we often place the good of ourselves first and foremost. Women become just means to us. Even outside of sex, this is naturally how we tend to view other people. What can they do for me?

Women meanwhile live in a world where half of the people around them could overpower them if they wanted to for the most part. Yes. I realize that there are men who are not physically intimidating, including myself, and there are women who know how to fight well, but I am again speaking of averages. I will not claim to know what it’s like to walk as a woman in a parking lot at night, though I do walk out women who work at night where I work so they don’t have to go alone.

The Old Testament doesn’t expect perfection right away. Consider many of the rules as baby steps towards a better ideal. We have slavery at the start in the wilderness, but as time moves along and people become more and more capable economically, that starts to dissipate. Jesus Himself implies this when He says that Moses granted divorce because of hardness of heart, but this is not the way it was meant to be.

So God looks at sinful men and says that if they follow their natural instincts, they will pay a price. They will either have to be with the woman for life or at the least, pay a hefty fine. That’s to curtail the man’s strong desire. So if he wants to be with the woman then, what does he have to do? He has to work up and be a man and really impress the father enough that he says “Okay. I can trust you with her.” Many of us know that if we start acting a certain way towards someone, our feelings towards that someone can change. Lewis once said to not ask if you love your neighbor. Live like you do, and loving feelings will follow. Even if they don’t, you are still doing the right thing.

Within the past few years, I was at Celebrate Recovery and for the group sharing after, it was just me and one other man. He told me about how he doesn’t feel respected by his wife and XYZ and all this other stuff. I listened and then said, “You know, I’m hearing all of this stuff and I’m going to say something and it’s going to sound insensitive, but I think I need to say it.”

“Who cares?”

BAM! The guy said even the next week it was the slap in the face he needed.

After all, as I explained. You have a duty. You have a responsibility. You made a promise as a husband. You are to do that regardless of how you feel. Do your duty and let her work out her own issues.

The Christian call to a man is not to deny his sex drive. God made it for us and He made the woman’s body desirable to us for a reason. He built the engine. It’s instead to channel that into greater love for the woman. Saving sex for marriage is meant to say that you only get to love the woman this way after you make a lifetime commitment. There is no try before you buy.

This is also to make the woman feel safe. She can freely give herself to the man because she knows he has her best interests at heart. He has made the promise and he will keep it. Ideally, a woman will meet the needs of her husband sexually, and he will meet her needs as well, not just emotional, but every other need. Also ladies, if you have a good man, he delights in meeting your needs and wants to meet your needs.

I can safely tell you that when I was married, I loved doing things that I thought put a smile on her face. When our anniversary came, I tried to go all out every single year. I wanted to go above and beyond to please her. Some I remember well, such as taking her to the hotel we stayed in our first night for our first anniversary to recreate things. For the fifth, I took her to an Equestrian theater. For the seventh, a friend had given me $200 and told me to spend it on something fun explicitly. I spent all of it and even more on our anniversary which included eating out for every meal, getting her a PSP, and a singing telegram singing songs from our wedding and other songs.

For me, I just wanted to make her happy and have her feel loved.

Ladies. Please remember you are worth a lifetime commitment. Don’t give yourself to a man for anything less than that. Let him demonstrate his commitment by making the promise first.

God realizes our natural tendencies in Scripture and puts these stipulations in because He wants us to get the most out of what He has made. It is wrong to say God only cares about our happiness, but it is just as wrong to say our happiness matters nothing to Him. God created love and sex and marriage for us to enjoy it as well and we should. Marriage done right will have us living more holy lives and in those lives finding more joy in one another and in God.

As we go through Scripture looking at marriage and divorce, keep this in mind. We are talking about the sacred. Marriage and sex are sacred because they come from a God who is sacred and they involve two people who are meant to be sacred together and bring up holiness in the next generation.

I hope this clears up matters for readers and my apologies for any bad phrasing on my part yesterday.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Can You Try Before You Buy?

Could you take her for a test run? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We live in a world that tends to worship at the altar of sexuality. We often think we know so much in this area, when really we know so little. It’s one reason there’s so much confusion such that people are having perfectly fine body parts removed from them because they feel like they’re the opposite gender. (As if to say there’s any set way a man or a woman is meant to feel.)

Sex is certainly not sacred to most people anymore and is pretty much a recreational activity. You are attracted to someone, you date, you sleep together, you move in, you could get married. Normally, it’s the woman who wants to get married to have that security, but the man isn’t as motivated. Why would he be? He’s getting what he wants already.

In the ancient world, a woman was to be protected while she was in the house of her parents, and that included her sexuality. In this case, if a man seduces her, assuming she is not pledged to someone else, then he doesn’t get to try before he buys. He has to marry her at that point.

Suppose the father absolutely refuses? The man is still in the loser’s position. He has to pay the bride-price for her. He has damaged the family. In the world of ancient Israel, men wanted to marry women who were virgins. This woman would be less likely to marry as a result of what this man had done.

Now we can be sure if a woman seduced a man, which could happen as we saw earlier with the wife of Potiphar who attempted this, that the law would be understood to apply in an opposite sense, though a man certainly doesn’t have a bride-price. However, most of us realize it makes sense to address the man because usually, the men are the pursuers in sexual relationships.

Overall, this was to be a deterrent to the man. Do you want to sleep with this woman? Really consider how much it’s going to cost you. Can you afford a bride-price? Later on in the Torah, we will get to the case of a man who seduces a woman who is pledged to be married and the stakes are different.

This is one reason also in our society, abortion is not an ally to women, but it is much more an ally to the man. After all, most men don’t really like the thought of paying child support, but if he can get a woman pregnant and she can make the problem go away, then the man gets off free and can do what he wants at that point. Abortion has really been helping women to be used by men as long as it has been around.

Perhaps our society should also learn to not take sex so casually. Maybe we’re really missing out on the joy that we’re meant to have in this area of life. While Christians are not under the Law, we are foolish if we don’t think we can learn something from it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Can You Get For Your Daughter?

Why would anyone sell their daughter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It sounds bizarre to us really. Why on Earth would someone sell their daughter? Do they want money more than they want a daughter? That does seem to be what is going on in Exodus 21.

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

The problem here is too many of us are reading this from our cultural perspective. We might think of something like sex trafficking going on or people turning their children into prostitutes at their home. This sounds like a family that really doesn’t care for their daughter.

However, when we look at the ancient world, by and large, marriage was about survival and continuing in the family name. This would be more like indentured servitude. serving someone for an amount of time in order to get something out of the deal. This was done by many people at first to get to America.

Okay. So how does that tie into survival? A poor family would have to work extra hard to provide for every family member. For us, we don’t understand this in a world where if we want bread, we can just drive down to the supermarket. For them, just getting a meal was long and laborious and it took time and energy to make bread.

By selling their daughter, they were selling her into a family that could afford her and could provide for her and make a better laugh for her. She would be moved into a new family unit. This doesn’t mean the old family could no longer have any contact with her, but essentially today when a family gives their daughter to a man who wants to marry her, they do the same. When my former in-laws gave my ex-wife to me, they realized that I was going to be the new primary family unit and my parents realized she would be my new primary family unit. I was the one meant to provide for her.

And notice, the new family is meant to do that, especially the husband. He has to provide food, shelter, and yes, marital rights. The man is to consistently love his wife. A man cannot sell her because that would be breaking the covenant promise to her. If the man’s son marries her, the master must treat the new girl like a daughter. If the son marries another woman, this one is not to be deprived and if she is, she can go her own way. In other words, for a book supposedly sexist, the woman has all the freedoms here and the man has all the responsibilities.

Again, we are not really at marriage for love yet, but we will be getting to that kind of attitude. Even still, that needs some temperance as love is badly misunderstood. Keep waiting as that is a way’s away.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Servant’s Wife

What happens when a servant comes to a master? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about how marriage was treated differently in the Old Testament. In this instance, we’re going to be discussing it with slavery in the Old Testament. It needs to be said that in this society, slavery was largely a willing institution where people gave of themselves to provide for them and their families. It was also not based on race.

So in Exodus 21, the question comes of a man who sells himself to his neighbor in order to provide for himself. Now if a man comes and he has a wife with him, then when his term is done with his master, then he is to go free and his wife is to come with him. However, what if he comes and he does not have a wife?

His master could provide one for him. This means that the master is giving of himself what he has and letting his servant partake of that gift. After all, a wife isn’t necessary to someone doing their job for the most part. How many of us when we go to work for an employer today discuss with the employer if they will provide a spouse for us or not?

In this scenario, when the man leaves then, his wife and children are not to go with him. The master will provide for all of them. However, there is an exemption to this. The servant can say that he loves his wife and his children and doesn’t want to lose them so he can become a servant for his master for life, which, if the wife was the master’s daughter, would essentially make him a son-in-law entirely and part of the family.

Note also that this indicates love was not really the norm in the time. Marriage was not done so much for love as it was done for survival. However, it would certainly be hoped that a marriage would make someone into a more loving person. In this case, it did.

The servant has no right to claim on his own what is his and what isn’t. He has been working for the master for years, likely had room and board provided, and the master doesn’t owe the servant anything else, including a spouse. If a master gives, that is a gift and the servant can choose how he wants to respond.

For those concerned about the idea of slavery in these passages, there are plenty of resources to go to on this one. I recommend this excellent article from the Christian-thinktank. I also recommend this video series on Scripture and Slavery. For now, I am looking at marriage and I don’t want to get diverted into a whole other series.

This time, we looked at the case of a man going into slavery. Next we’ll be looking at what happens when a man sells his daughter into slavery. That will hopefully be on Monday barring anything else that needs to be said. See you then.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Marriage in the Bible Intro

How do we see marriage explicitly? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re in the book of Exodus in our look through the Bible at marriage and as we get into this, we will see a lot of customs that don’t match up with a modern Western approach to marriage. This isn’t a culture that practices dating or marriage for love. You do not normally choose your spouse. Marriage seems to be a different kind of relationship.

At this point, skeptics of the Bible who tend to be left politically shout with glee about how much marriage has changed. Thus, we live in a time also where marriage is changing and it is changing so much that it is no longer supposedly a union of a man and a woman. We have already changed marriage since then, so why not?

So for this, I want to give a brief overview. Some matters will be acknowledged. Why people enter into marriage has changed. Why people got married has changed. How people got married has changed. There is something that hasn’t changed.

Marriage hasn’t.

But what about polygamy?

This was a borderline practice that was allowed in the Old Testament. Still, if anything, this could count as one man having multiple marriages. When Joash was the last surviving member of the line of David that was able to rule, he was granted to have two wives. After all, they needed to produce more children again.

So in the Old Testament, most marriages were arranged. This is still common in much of the world today. A person doesn’t know their spouse sometimes until the day that they marry them and then they are to give to the relationship and make it work. In many cases, it really does work.

Marriage was mainly about the uniting of the families together and the survival of the family. This was to pass on the heritage of the family and ensure that they would not be forgotten in Israel. Producing children was a must as that was the way to make sure this would take place and you needed a lot. Today, we take it for granted that our children will live and start saving for college while they’re in the womb. Not so in those days. Child mortality was very common.

While love was not the basis, there was no doubt that it was hoped for. If you read Proverbs, a man is told to delight in his wife. Song of Songs is a very passionate poem about love and especially sexual love in a marriage relationship.

Divorce did happen, but it was not a practice that God celebrated in Scripture, even when He did it Himself to Israel. The breaking of a covenant is always a tragedy. Now I realize some people are saying, “But my spouse abused me. Are you saying that the divorce was a tragedy?” Yes, and hear me out on this please. It is a tragedy that one person broke a promise to love and cherish the other and treat them like a partner in life and wound up abusing and/or betraying them. While the divorce was sadly a necessity in this case, the first tragedy is that the betrayal had already taken place. It is sad the situation was so bad that one person had to remove themselves from it to protect themselves when marriage was meant to be a relationship for the growing of love between the two.

So as we go into this, I’m not going to say every time about how different the union was entered into and the different purposes it served. I figure it’s easier to do this upfront than to do that. Still, we will see differences between our day and theirs. The past is a strange place. They do things differently there.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

You Shall Not Commit Adultery

What is adultery? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Centuries ago, there was a Bible published that was called the Wicked Bible. In this one, there was a misprint in the seventh commandment so it read, “You shall commit adultery.” The publishers were greatly fined for this.

We should all know adultery is wicked, but what is adultery?

Adultery is sexual behavior reserved for the covenant of marriage that is done outside of that covenant. This can be of a physical nature, sexual activity, or it can be of an emotional nature, an emotional commitment to another person where you share things with someone else that should really only be shared with your spouse. Both of these are incredibly harmful to a marriage.

Why is this so? Because marriage is a relationship built on exclusive trust. When you go outside of that, then you are violating that trust. Sexual activity is giving someone total trust with your body and it only makes sense if this takes place in the covenant of a promise that is followed through.

This is why I always tell women to not have sex with a man until he marries you. Why would I not say the same to a man? Technically, I would, but more often than not, the men are the pursuers in the market. If it wasn’t for sex, men would never marry. Men seek to be with women because we have strong drives and those drives drive us to love the woman also.

When a woman gives herself to a man without that, she is ultimately saying she will give him her very body for whatever he has done already. It’s hard to think of something greater one human can trust another with than their body. So a woman needs to decide what her body is worth. A promise to marry in engagement? Six months of dating? A month? A week? Dinner and a movie?

By the way, normally, once a man is given what he wants, odds are that he could have a good chance of plateauing at that level. Many a woman will think living together is a prelude to marriage. It isn’t. He’s got a great deal already. He gets the sex he wants, he can leave any time that he wants, and in the end, he doesn’t have to pay alimony if something happens because there was no commitment.

Now while I said it’s hard to think of something greater one human can give to another than their body, there is one thing indeed. Their heart. Emotional affairs hurt. I speak from experience. In the age of Facebook, they can much more easily happen. Most physical affairs also start off as emotional ones.

A man goes out from his office on lunch and there’s a woman that goes out at the same time. Why not just go together? We’re friends. We’re both married to other people, but why not? Then they begin talking over lunch and they enjoy each other’s company and not too much later, they’re meeting in a hotel room and having sex.

Yes. This happens.

Very few people get up one morning and say “I think I’ll have an affair to screw up my marriage.” It happens gradually. Often, the other side of the fence can look greener to which the reply is “Tend your own lawn first.” This will lead to hopping from relationship to relationship, especially when the spark dies down.

This is why vigilance is required to guard a marriage. In my own personal life, I have said when I get my own place again, I don’t want to be alone with a woman who is not family, even one I am dating. I know my temptations. I know as a man I greatly desire sex and having been there before, I don’t want to put myself in a position where it’s hard to put the brakes on.

Sex is reserved for the covenant of marriage. Taking it outside is lying with your bodies. It is a beautiful gift to be given to a man and a woman who have made a lifelong covenant with one another. Their bodies in sex show what they have done with their hearts to one another.

God stands against adultery not because He is anti-sex, but because He is pro-sex. He created everything about it after all. If we are to enjoy it to the best, then we need to follow His counsel on the matter.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Why Don’t The Ten Commandments Condemn Rape?

Why are the Ten Commandments supposedly silent on rape? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Skeptics will always be finding something to complain about with Scripture. This time it’s about the Ten Commandments. Why do they not mention rape? Isn’t that worth talking about?

For one thing, the Ten Commandments are not meant to be all-inclusive of everything. (Note that if we followed the first one perfectly, the other nine would be done naturally.) Laws in that culture were more didactic in that they were guidelines. Today, if you read a single law on a federal website, odds are it will be longer than the book of Exodus entirely itself. Every single possible exception is meant to be covered.

The ancients instead gave general principles and the role of a judge was to be wise and know how to apply the Law in every single case. Even if there was a prescribed punishment, no judge was forced to go that way. It was as said before more of a guideline.

Yet what about rape?

A simple answer is to say that rape would be understood to fall under the commandment against adultery. Adultery is any improper sexual behavior that is done outside of the marriage covenant. Rape is such a case. Of course, that can happen in marriage as well, but a wise judge would know what was going on.

Why would adultery be mentioned? Because looking at Israelite history, Israel seemed to have a much more consistent problem with adultery than they did with rape. Of all the horizontal sins that are mentioned in the Ten Commandments, the #1 sin that the Israelites were committing on that level was adultery. The idea that sex is the great god that people pursue in our culture is nothing new. It has been the same in most cultures throughout history. Honestly, I’d be surprised to find one where that wasn’t the case.

In the history of Israel, I can only think of two cases where rape takes place and both of them are condemned. The first is in the end of Judges where we have a scene much like Sodom and Gomorrah and a slave woman is raped and raped so much that she actually dies. What’s amusing is when skeptics quote this passage as a look at the depravity the Bible has and actually think it’s being endorsed, when Scripture records this to show an example of what happens when a society abandons the covenant with God. If you think it’s something horrible and disgusting, Scripture agrees.

The second is the case of Amnon and Tamar. In this, Amnon is in love with his half-sister Tamar and rapes her. After that, the text says he hated her and he hated her so much that his hatred was greater than the love that he had for her. (Which shows that it wasn’t really love.) Again, this is condemned. It’s seen as a sign of judgment on the house of David and later, Absalom will sleep with the concubines of David, though that’s not specified as rape.

Ultimately, by condemning adultery, the Ten Commandments do condemn rape. It’s my plan that next time we will look closer at adultery. It’s one of those commandments that many of us didn’t ask about as kids and I always wonder now what goes through the minds of children at church when it is mentioned. Hopefully, we can give the adults a better answer.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Reuben’s Loss

Was it worth it for Reuben? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jacob is about to die and has called in his sons to bless them all. We’re only going to focus on one son and that’s Reuben. Reuben was the firstborn and one would think that he would then be in the place of honor. Generally, he would, but this time, he isn’t. It’s not because Jacob has a revelation that God specifically told him to choose another. Only one reason is given.

He defiled his father’s bed.

Remember back when Reuben slept with Jacob’s concubine? Jacob didn’t do anything then, but he had heard about it. Now is the time. Jacob should be giving Reuben a great blessing and telling him what a success he will be and how he will lead his family.

Reuben has no one to blame but himself.

We live in an odd culture. In our culture, sex is treated like it’s everything. The goal of every romance? Sex. The only purpose of dating and marriage? Sex. We see it on advertising everywhere. What used to be done behind closed doors in movies is now done in the open.

At the same time, out society likes to treat sex in a way like it’s no big deal. Everyone does it. Want to have sex outside of marriage? No biggie. Marriage isn’t that important after all. Want to just live together? Go ahead. Who needs to make a promise.

Yet there is still this problem that we see that so many people when they find out the person they say they love is having sex or interested sexually in someone else and pursuing it, they think there is a betrayal going on. It stings them. We know that there is something different about this activity from all other activities.

It’s weird that the Christian community is said to be prudes in this area, and I won’t deny that many are, but in reality, we are the ones who have the highest view of sexuality. We put it in a marriage covenant because a marriage covenant is the place of a promise. You have promised total loyalty and exclusivity to someone and you are to be with them for life. (We will look at divorce more and more as we go on.)

It’s not because sex is dirty, though that impression has been given before. It’s because it’s something sacred and the more valuable something is, the more you protect it and keep it safe. The sexual revolution really hasn’t done us any favors. We now live in a culture with rampant STDs and broken families.

I sometimes surprise people by saying our culture doesn’t think a lot about sex. It’s entirely true. They do it, dream about it, talk about it, fantasize about it, etc. There’s very little real thinking about it.

Christians should know better. This is nothing to treat casually. This is God’s gift to us and if we misuse it, we will suffer the consequences. Reuben suffered some. We can do the same if we mess up.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Did Joseph Forget?

Did Joseph forget about his suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Joseph does manage to escape prison when he’s thrown in by impressing the Pharaoh by interpreting his dream. The Pharaoh places Joseph second in command in Egypt and gives him a wife. Joseph has two sons through her and the oldest is named Manasseh while the youngest is named Ephraim.

Ephraim refers to being fruitful. We can understand that. Joseph is having a very fruitful time in Egypt. However, the name Manasseh is given because Joseph says that he has forgotten the suffering that he went through. He had forgotten his trouble and his father’s household.

Had he? When Joseph’s brothers show up not too far down the road, Joseph does remember them. He knows about them. If he’s able to talk about his father’s household, surely he hadn’t forgotten about his father’s household. Besides that, Joseph should have good memories of his Dad who favored him.

It’s my contention that sometimes when the Bible uses the word forget or remember, it doesn’t mean what we often think it means. In the flood, it says God remembered Noah. It’s not that God is looking down at the flood and sees that ark floating and thinks “Noah! I forgot all about Him!” Instead, it means that God returned his focus to Noah.

If that’s what it means to remember, then that would mean that Joseph had a new focus in life. He was not thinking about what happened growing up and how his brothers mistreated him and all the time he spent in prison. Instead, he was focusing on the future.

Joseph had come to see that God was with him in everything regardless of how his life was going. One day he’s in prison and has been forgotten by everyone. The next day, he’s the second in command in Egypt. The reader knows that God has been with Joseph granting him favor in the eyes of all who see him the whole time, but Joseph does not have that outside perspective. He is living the story that we are the spectators of.

Joseph having children is a sign to him that things are working out. God has allowed him the honor of having a family and having descendants. These are things he would have missed out on also if he had not been faithful in the house of Potiphar.

Speaking personally on this, divorce has been the worst event I have ever gone through. Something that has kept me going is a saying that I have heard before and I don’t remember where, but it’s that the best revenge is a life well-lived. I have decided I don’t want to be a victim of my past. I want to rise above. When I go to work, I try to see it as just a stepping stone. It is one spot on my journey and somehow it will lead to another and God has me here for a reason just like he had Joseph in prison for a reason that he didn’t understand.

After all, picture if Joseph had never been sold into slavery and then never been picked by Potiphar and then never thrown into prison. He would never have been made known to Pharaoh. He would never have led Egypt and the world would have suffered a famine. Joseph could have died anyway then. Every step of his suffering was used by God.

Joseph no longer had his focus on the past. He was looking to the future. Paul said the same in Philippians 3. He was forgetting what was behind and looking to what was ahead.  (Ironically, what was behind him was pretty good actually. It just didn’t compete with Christ.) Maybe we should all do the same.

It’s something that keeps me going in this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Joseph’s Temptation

How did Joseph handle temptation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There’s a story done about a study on a college campus. In this study, an attractive young woman would go up to various men on campus and ask them if they would like to have sex with her that evening. Many guys in the study actually said, “Why wait until this evening?” The women when approached by a handsome young man with the same question weren’t nearly as eager.

Most of us understand this. Guys think about sex a lot and it is the greatest area of temptation most of us feel. Joseph in Egypt is also a guy and he has older brothers who have families of their own, even if they are distant. He lives in a household where his Dad is presumably very active to bring about all those kids.

Joseph is away from those influences. He has been sold into slavery and if anyone had any understandable reason to go against God, Joseph did. It wouldn’t be right, but we can understand how Joseph could look at his evil of being a slave and think that God had abandoned him and why not return the favor? No one is there to see him after all. Why not become like the Egyptians and worship their gods instead of YHWH?

Yet Joseph does not do this.

Joseph is placed in the home of Potiphar and his wife takes a liking to Joseph. She tries to seduce him time and time again. The Bible doesn’t tell us what methods she used, but many of us guys know that women can be very alluring when they try to seduce. It’s not like Joseph could also go to another household and be a servant there. That freedom didn’t exist.

So he had to overcome this. Many of us guys can have this struggle. How many of us men, on a lesser level, have bought something at a store that we really didn’t need or even want just because the girl who sold it was awfully cute and it looked like she was flirting? Been there. Done that.

Joseph does everything he can to remain faithful. One day when Potiphar is away, his wife takes Joseph by his coat and asks him to sleep with her. This time she has gone too far and Joseph flees leaving his coat behind. Now the woman has a problem. She has the coat of another man right there. Thus, she turns the tables and screams and when Potiphar arrives eventually later on in the day, she tells him that the Hebrew slave tried to seduce her and fled leaving his coat behind. This leads to Joseph being thrown in prison as Potiphar is not going to disbelieve his own wife.

Joseph goes to prison then and while he is faithful to God even there, let’s look at what happened with him. Joseph remained faithful and his main reason was he didn’t want to dishonor not just his master, but God. Joseph has not abandoned God even though one could understand why he could think God had abandoned him.

Joseph could have also easily got some action in and as far as we know, he was a virgin at this time. Surely he would be curious and wonder what he’s missing. While that may be so, he still remains faithful.

Many of us are not as careful with temptation and allow ourselves to be tempted and then get surprised when we fall. As a single man again, I am looking for a new wife, but I am also setting up one rule being that if I have my own place, I will not have a girl I date come alone to be at my place with me and I will not be alone with her at hers.

When I work, if some ladies get off the same time as me, I walk them to their cars. Last night, one offered to drive me to mine. It’s a short ride across the parking lot, but I said no. It would not appear right for me to do that. I would not take another girl home either. There are women who can do that.

Why do this? Because I know how real the temptation is. It’s something I struggle with every day. Today, it can be harder than it was for Joseph. You want to see something sexual? Heck. Just open up your browser and you can in a few clicks. You can see something on your phone if you want to.

Sexual faithfulness is worth it. I hope to remarry someday and when I do, have a woman know that I preserved my eyes from seeing other women like that and saved them for when I could see her. It is my goal to make it to a future wedding night knowing that I remained faithful to God and to her and waited for that time. God is not opposed to His children enjoying the blessing of sexuality. He wants us to enjoy it in the way that is best for us, in a committed monogamous relationship of a man and a woman.

Joseph remained strong. In the end, he was used mightily of God. Today, we need to remain strong in a highly sexualized culture as well. Temptation is real, but Christ is there to help us overcome it always.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)