Genesis 39 Joseph in Potiphar’s House

Genesis 39

Joseph in Potiphar’s House


Moses has to get his people ready to live in Canaan. 


Israel has to know the narrative that defines what is true and thus teaches them how to live in Canaan on mission.

  • The rule of God established as in heaven. Eden being regained, through preparing the way for the Messiah, Jesus, to finally and fully establish that Eden. 


Israel must be able to testify to Yhwh’s greatness where his worship has been replaced by rampant idolatry and every sin that flows out of that idolatry…

  • The worship of demons disguised as “gods” (Leviticus 17:7; 1 Corinthians 10:20)
  • Sacrificing their children (Leviticus 18:21)
  • Rampant sexual misuse and abuse as religious ritual (1 Kings 14:21-24)
  • Tyrannical governments and alliances that Israel will be tempted to adopt as their own (1 Samuel 8:7)


Moses knows Yhwh’s saving history has been woven together by Yhwh for this moment, and there is a model from whom they can learn…Joseph. 

  • The fact that God has woven history together to his ends and to reveal who he is and how he saves and what he calls us to should make us bow down in awe at Him.


“As Christians, we recognize that Israel’s history is not haphazard, nor a series of random incidents, but, as in all history, it is governed by the purposes of God. The unique feature of Israel’s history was that its purpose involved both revelation of salvation and the way of salvation.”


Ultimately, the Lord Jesus through his servant, Moses, is providing the narrative that defines what is true, what the good news of the kingdom is, and he teaches us how to live among the nations and make disciples.


Genesis 39


Gospel Tributaries (GT)/Truths about God (TG)/Life under his reign (L)



  • John 5:46-47 (ESV) For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”



  • GT: Joseph is SENT to another land as a grace for saving a people from all nations. Psalm 105:16-17
    • John 17:18 (ESV) As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
    • As God saved Tamar, a gentile, he intends to save other gentiles by faith, and he does that by sending his ambassadors to those gentiles. 


  • GT: Joseph suffers in the place of his brothers (and it was his brother’s sin that put him in that suffering) in order to save them through his suffering, and through that suffering he will rise to be ruler over them in love. 
    • What is to be learned in the life of Joseph is a pattern for how Yhwh works to save his people. 
    • Jesus himself said that belief in Moses’ teaching would lead them to salvation 


  • GT: Joseph’s status and favor are credited to Potiphar who is not worthy of favor. 
    • 39:3, 5


  • TG/L: Joseph is tested to prepare for him for the work he was sent to do. 
    • Matthew 4:1 (ESV) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
      • Jesus himself underwent testing/temptation from Satan, and it was at the leading of the Holy Spirit in preparation for his ministry. 
    • God will be gracious to test us in preparation for living on his mission to do the work he’s given us to do. 
      • James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
      • James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.


  • L: Sin tries to hide in the dark, blind us to its consequences, isolate us from others, entice us to harm others by seeking its own pleasure, rob the fruit of righteousness, and destroy those who sin. 
    • 39:7-12
    • 2 Corinthians 4:1-4 (ESV) Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
  • L: Righteousness runs from sin and runs to righteousness. Righteousness can’t abide with sin. 
    • Joseph is a witness/aroma of righteousness among a people who are an aroma of debauchery and rebellion. So, he flees from that rebellion. 
    • 39:12
  • L: God is not absent when hardships come. Rather God is near working for his mission and our good.
    • Psalm 44 as the basis of Romans 8:28. 


  • L: Hardship is not an indicator of God’s absent favor. In fact, it may be an indicator of the warfare of righteousness versus darkness. 
    • It is a lie that if you do good, all things will go well. 
      • That simply does not match up with Jesus’ own life. 
    • 39:2, 21, 23 “Yhwh was with Joseph”
    • 1 Peter 2:19-23 (ESV) For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
  • L: Circumstances are no dictator of effort and excellence as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. 
    • Joseph was a diligent worker, and did good to Potiphar. 
    • GT: Jesus, although rejected by man and sold out for political expediency by his own people, did not slack in his service to God the Father. He was diligent as the Son of God to be found faithful in his mission. 


How do we apply our passage today? (Believe/Know/Do)

Believe this pattern we see in Scripture is to be our pattern of personal and corporate life. WHAT IF THE WHOLE CHURCH WAS THE MISSIONARY?

    1. Believe we are SENT to establish JESUS’ reign among all nations, and that this is the mission and the pattern of the gospel. 
    2. We have been sent to the world on his mission, and WE MUST work to live a “sent” life. 
      1. The curse can stand against a sent life in disguise as complacent acceptance of the status quo. 
      2. Illustration: The queen of underland in “The Silver Chair” having everyone under the spell of “there is no sun.”
    3. A sent life comes with challenges. 
    4. God is not absent from sent life. He is with us on mission. 


Believe that the gospel and all its facets are richly present in all Scripture, and the Lord intends us to know, tell those truths, and be fishers of men. 


    1. As you take territory for the salvation and rule of Jesus, it will be hard. 
    2. Difficulty is not an indicator of God’s absence, rather difficulty may be evidence that you are in a fight for right, light and truth. (difficulty because we have sinned is different…that’s consequences)
      1. 3 x “Yhwh was with Joseph”.
    3. Satan’s triumvirate of evil: The world, The flesh, and the Devil (1 John 2:15-17; Ephesians 2:2-3) will seek to entice you, hide the sin, isolate you, seek it’s incubation and multiplication, and then kill you…so
      1. Do: We resist sin. 
      2. Romans 8:12-13 (ESV) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

While on mission be a faithful and trustworthy ambassador in order to be a pleasing aroma of Christ among those around you who need to hear the gospel from you. 


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