Samples from Seminary-You Can Flee

Genesis 39:7-12 records the well-known story in which Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife, who attempted to seduce him on a day-to-day basis. At seminary, one of the professors asked us students to provide the main idea of this passage. With a measure of confidence, I responded: “this passage calls us to flee fornication, even as Joseph did.” However, this was not the answer that the professor was looking for.

He went on to explain that other passages in Scripture more directly call young men to flee fornication (I Cor. 6:18) or to avoid of the immoral woman (Proverbs 5). While certainly one of the applications of this text is that we ought to run from such sexual temptations, the main application is different. This passage teaches us that by God’s grace young men can turn and flee from sexual temptations. Therefore, for those young men struggling with such sins this passage serves as a tremendous encouragement.

Joseph grew up in what we would call a broken home. Sins such as incest, murder, and deceit characterized his family. Joseph did not grow up surrounded by godly examples. In addition, Joseph was sold into slavery. If anyone could have justified sins of bitterness and hatred, surely it was Joseph. Furthermore, at the time when Potiphar’s wife made advances on Joseph, he was miles away from his family, the church, or anyone else who would hold him accountable. From our perspective, for a young and single man like Joseph to turn from such a temptation seems impossible… But he did.

This passage encourages all of us in our fight against sin, but especially those struggling with sexual sins. Joseph represents an outstanding example of the power of God’s grace working in a young person. Just as Joseph was able to obey the command to flee fornication, even though he was confronted by a seemingly impossible temptation, so too, can each of us.

Remember this, young person, the next time sexual desires begin to clamp down upon you with vice-like grips. Think of the power of God’s grace working in Joseph: an ordinary, depraved teenager from a broken home. God makes us able turn and run, just as Joseph did. Thus, you can flee. Hopefully this encourages you as much as it encourages me.

Matt Kortus

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