Two weeks ago, I read about two men who are tempted, that is presented with the opportunity to do wrong but they triumped instead. These men were Joseph, Jacob’s son and King David. Joseph was a slave in Egypt but he got along very well with his owner, Potiphar who liked and trusted him. Potiphar’s wife also liked Joseph but in an entirely different way. In fact, at every opportunity she asked him to sleep with her. Joseph refused each time. He said to her, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
One day Joseph was completely alone in the house with Potiphar’s wife. The other men were outside. They had the house to themselves. Joseph could have given and slept with her. No one would have known but he didn’t. Instead he ran out of the house (Genesis 39:1-6).
David had an opportunity to kill King Saul who was hounded him to kill him. One day Saul went into a cave to attend his needs and the men with David said, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’”
David went into the cave and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. What he did bothered him and he said to the men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” He said this to make it clear to his men that they were not to rise up against Saul. Saul went on his way, unaware of what could have happened to him had David given into temptation.
On another occasion he lay sleeping with his spear beside him and all David had to do was give the order and Abishai would have struck Saul dead with the spear. But David interceded, saying, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” David said furthermore, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go” (1 Samuel 26:9-11).
Sometimes not giving into temptation does not always bring positive results. Joseph ended up in prison because Potiphar’s wife cried rape. David spared Saul’s life and Saul continued to hound him. Yet, despite this David refused to harm the king. This shows that we do what is right even if it brings us hardship, heartache, trouble. We know that God will come through for us because we did right by Him.
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter reacted by cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. Jesus rebuked Peter, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:52-54). Jesus could have called upon His Father for help but He chose not to. He chose to fulfill the scriptures instead.
If Jesus wanted to He could have turned the stones into bread when He was in the wilderness because He hadn’t eaten in forty days but He chose not to. He chose to obey His Father instead.
There are times when the devil tempts us to do what we know is wrong but when we put our relationship with God and His Word above our own selfish needs, we can have overcome. Both Joseph and David did not want to sin against God. Jesus was obedient to the Father even onto death. He said that we don’t live by bread alone but by every word which proceeds out of God’s mouth; we are to worship God only and we are not to question God’s love for us. Joseph realized that if he had given in and slept with another man’s wife, he would not only be bringing pain, unhappiness and misery to a man who had been kind to him but dishonoring the God was with him and that the made all he did to prosper in his hand (Genesis 39:3).
David was a man after God’s heart so he could not go against God’s will and strike down the man whom God had anointed as king. Saul was his enemy but he was God’s anointed so David could not touch him. Instead he left Saul to his own fate. Saul ended up dying by his own hand. David became king. Joseph ended up being second in command to Pharaoh. It may have taken awhile for Joseph and David to get to where God wanted them but they got there and they could live with themselves because even though they were tempted to do wrong they chose to do what was right and pleasing in God’s sight. They triumphed over temptation.
Today, you too can triumph over your temptation. Remember you have a compassionate High Priest who was tempted too but did not sin. He makes it possible to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).