When teaching communication skills, I caution my students against the overuse of absolute descriptors. Words such as “never” and “always” should be used sparingly since they rarely reflect the reality of human action. However, Genesis 39 is filled with absolutes. First, we are told that the Lord was with Joseph—in absolute ways. Notice the use of words like “everything” and “anything.” The Lord gave Joseph success in everything he did (v. 3). Potiphar entrusted to his care everything he owned (v. 5). Because of Joseph, the blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had (v. 5).
The contrast between what the Lord was doing in Judah’s life (putting his sons to death; see Genesis 38) and what He was doing for Joseph could not be greater. Then temptation came in the form of Potiphar’s wife. In response to her seduction, Joseph reiterated the absolute nature of Potiphar’s trust in him. “My master does not concern himself with anything . . . Everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife” (vv. 8–9, emphasis added). Joseph stands strong, recognizing that to sin against Potiphar was to sin against God. But Potiphar’s wife was persistent and tried again. This time, she kept his cloak and used it against him. Notice that this was the second time Joseph’s coat had been used against him.
Potiphar sent Joseph to prison. However, God was with Joseph and his character remained the same. As a result, “the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there” (v. 22). God continued to give success to Joseph “in whatever he did” (v. 23), another absolute!
>> Take comfort today in the absolute nature of a God who always cares for His children and never changes. While your circumstances may change, God never does.
We are constantly adjusting to change, both good and bad. Today, Lord, we pause to rest in your unchanging ways. Thank you for being a God we can depend on.