Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Exodus 4-6; Galatians 6
Several years ago, a group called The Kingsmen sang a catchy song that I remember it coming on the radio when I was a child in the 1970s. Here’s the chorus of the song:
Excuses, excuses, you’ll hear them every day. And the Devil he’ll supply them, if the church you stay away. When people come to know the Lord, the Devil always loses So to keep them folks away from church, he offers them excuses.
This activity is as old as time. As you read through Exodus 3-4, you see that Moses comes up with five types of excuses:
Who am I? (Exodus 3:11)
Who are you? (Exodus 3:13)
What if they don’t believe me? (Exodus 4:1)
Lord, I can’t talk. (Exodus 4:10)
Lord, send someone else (Exodus 4:13).
God answered the first three questions, provided for the fourth by sending his brother Aaron to help. The last one “kindled” the anger of the Lord (4:14). Now, it didn’t go well at first. When Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh demanding that Pharaoh let God’s people go, Pharaoh did not acknowledge the Lord and made the work harder for God’s people. Moses struggled with God’s work and way, but God would make it clear that He was in the midst of Moses’ work to free His people.
When God calls you to something, do any of those excuses sound familiar? Surrender willingly and gladly! God is at work!
By the way, here’s the song I referred to at the beginning:
The Scriptures are filled with cautionary episodes that remind us that even the most faithful can find themselves ensnared by the sinful motives and actions of others. Faithfulness on our part does not mean we will not be on the receiving end of injustice–something that Joseph knew all too well.
For Potiphar’s wife, she fell into the same Garden sin, where Joseph was a “delight to the eyes.” Joseph was “handsome in form and appearance” (Genesis 39:6) and enticed Joseph into bed–daily. Joseph refused, citing his loyalty to both his earthly and heavenly master. Humiliated, Potiphar’s wife trumped up a charge, invoking twice that “the Hebrew servant” came in to laugh at them, with a display of racial superiority lacing those comments.
The cautionary aspect of this story is the danger in finding oneself alone with someone of the opposite gender, putting yourself in a position to have someone spread falsehoods about you with no other witnesses. It is a protection for you and for the person with you. While men such as Mike Pence and Billy Graham faced public ridicule for their refusal to be alone with a woman, it must also be said that the #MeToo movement gives credance to Graham’s and Pence’s boundaries.
Yet, another aspect of this story is looking at the long game. Just because Joseph did the right thing in refusing Potiphar’s wife did not mean an immediate “gain” in his stature. Off to jail he went. Eventually, God used him and exalted him to second in command behind Pharaoh himself, he had to wait for God to strengthen him through apparent injustice and significant suffering.
So hang in there! Keep following God’s path even if it does not bring the prosperity you believe God owes you. You’re missing the point. God uses suffering for His purpose and that is to strengthen His people–and if you’re a Christian, that includes you!