The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 39:11-23

photo of an open book on a tree s roots

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom to be planted. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 39:11-23.

One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. 12 She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.

13 When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, 14 she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.”

16 She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home. 17 Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. 18 “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”

19 Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. 20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.

Genesis 39:11-23 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis shows that the lies and manipulation of others have no influence on the Lord’s plans. Our scripture selection begins with Potiphar’s wife taking advantage of being alone with Joseph. Joseph had taken care to avoid her, but now that they were alone Potiphar’s wife took another chance at sleeping with him. Joseph ran away but left his cloak behind. Potiphar’s wife used the cloak in her accusation that Joseph had attempted to defile her, first to the servants, and then to her husband. Potiphar was furious and had Joseph thrown into prison. Despite being imprisoned, Joseph was still favored by God and ascended the ranks. Joseph was placed in charge of the prisoners and things that happened in the prison. The warden enjoyed the benefits of God’s favor on Joseph’s life.

Joseph’s interaction with Potiphar’s wife is the second time that an article of clothing contributed to Joseph losing a position of prominence. His father, Israel (Jacob), bestowed a coat of many colors that was used by his brothers to lie to their father about Joseph’s “death.” In this selection, Potiphar’s wife used a cloak to exact revenge on Joseph for refusing her sexual advancements. The subject of Potiphar’s anger is not clear. Remember, Potiphar had enjoyed the benefits of God’s favor on Joseph for nearly a decade. Perhaps this is why Potiphar had Joseph thrown in jail instead of executed. Execution of the perpetrator was the punishment for rape during that time. Yet, God’s faithfulness still covered Joseph in prison. Joseph became a favorite of the prison warden. It’s not clear what the warden’s kindness was based upon. Perhaps the warden knew Joseph from interactions with Potiphar, or Joseph’s integrity was clearly distinguishable among the prisoners. Despite the lies and manipulation, Joseph was still elevated and successful because God’s favor is not dependent on the environment.

Joseph was lied on and thrown into jail, but it did not stop his advancement. Joseph remained faithful to God despite the environment and opposition he encountered. And in the most unlikely of surroundings, Joseph was still elevated. There will be times when we will be lied on or manipulated. Yet we must remember the faithful love and favor of God on our lives. Regardless of what others do out of spite or ill feelings, God’s plan prevails. His favor can rest on us anywhere. Our course of action is to remain obedient to the Lord despite opposition. Don’t throw away God’s eternal blessings for temporary sin.

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