. . .But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. . .Genesis 39: 12
I always used to wonder why Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife yet he was clearly in communion with God. He saw visions about his future, and God spoke vividly to him through dreams, yet he fled. He fled in the face of sexual temptation, yet he was ranked high in Egypt, he could have called some shots too.I wonder why he didn’t invite Potiphar’s wife for espresso and mocha in the evening after a long day of handling the affairs of Egypt. Possibly they could have reached to amicable stand. . . but he didn’t. He choose to flee leaving his coat behind.
Yielding was easier. Fleeing was hard.
Joseph had to flee because just like all of us, we all have desires that prey on us when we are most vulnerable and weak. I believe Potiphar’s wife was beautiful, seductive and charming. I know she was the fairest among all women. Couple all that with the opulence and glory that came with being a King’s wife, living in the palace, with maids and servants at her beck and call. She must have been irresistible. He knew she was beautiful. She taunted and haunted his nights. Am sure he battled his will every day, wondering if he should satisfy his growing longings or honor God.He took the high road.
See, no one does anything by sheer will. Our will follows what it has been directed to do, and this stems from our desires. Sin grows out of our desires and direct our wills into what is most pleasurable.
James 1:13-14 says, When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
When we are most vulnerable or hurt, it’s human to want comfort and to run away from what causes us distress and hurt. It’s human to desire to be understood mostly from our point of view, but that is when God honoring desires should tower above our own. If we have to win over sin. If we have to honor the Lord in our marriages, then it’s mandatory that we do not let the slow fade of naivete take root.
Emotional outlets stem forth from such intrinsic desires. Then those desires grow. A simple call soon grows to endless chats. The endless chats translate to late night coffee dates and soon, an emotional bond is born that most of the time, leads to being intimate. The more you linger at sin, the more alluring the promise of pleasure becomes.
The apostle Paul understood this. That is why he wrote, “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
This is why Joseph did not try to reason with Potiphar’s wife in the face of sexual temptation because, an aroused appetite is almost always unreasonable. Sexual desire is powerful and it’s more powerful when fueled by persuasive appetites. Paul’s recommendation — no, his command — in the face of this appetite was to flee. Paul was very aware of this appetite’s ability to overpower our reason. So he told us to employ this intelligent, righteous alternative strategy: Hightail it out of there.
If your marriage is struggling, the best alternative route is to loop in your best couple or a godly couple who can help you walk the journey. Cut off all emotional outlets or props. Don’t text her to say that she understands you more than your wife. You are opening a mining field for the enemy to plant the seed of infidelity. It might not happen now, but after it has run its course, you will sin. Mrs. watch out for the lingers and the stares the “handsome man” gives you. The sweet nothings and the complementary gestures extended to you, especially when your are getting none from home. It does not take long for a yearning heart to warm up to to such endearments.
Take the hardest route. Go for counseling. Toil hard to root our those seeds of misunderstanding between you two.
Above all, if our marriages have to win against the fade out of emotional naivete, then we must have an overpowering competing desire. The desire to honor God with our marriages. Don’t reason with sin, don’t linger upon it either. Cut if off! Run!
Flight is your best defense.