Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Sex is God’s idea. You better believe that! We humans didn’t create it; the devil had no voice in the matter and it certainly didn’t come about by evolution. The good Lord, in his manifold wisdom, created sex for His creation to enjoy. Sex has never been a bad thing - what is bad is SEXUAL SIN.
We could define Sexual sin, quite broadly, as sexual relations outside of the context of marriage. What makes Sexual sin such a major problem is that it is totally contrary to God’s design. Anything that runs in a contradictory manner to what the Lord intended leads to some real serious problems. Think about it - every child born outside of wedlock, every sexually related disease, broken marriages, broken families, broken nations - can all be directly linked to sexual sin. Sexual sin is a big deal!!!
Throughout the Word of God, we have quite a few examples of individuals who chose not to give in to Sexual sin. One such person is a man by the name of Joseph.
I’m pretty sure you remember Joseph, the son of Jacob? He was the guy who was sold into slavery and eventually ended up serving in the house of Pharaoh - Egypt’s ruler. Irrespective of the unfair circumstances Joseph faced, he functioned in a God-honoring manner.
In time, Joseph learned that His master’s wife wanted to have sexual relations with him - She actually wanted to commit adultery with Joseph. When she blatantly asked Joseph to come to bed with her, Joseph responded by saying this:
“No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9).
One would have thought that such a response would make any self respecting woman leave the young man alone, but not this lady. She kept on pressuring Joseph to sleep with her, but the Bible tells us that Joseph consistently rejected her advances and he refused to even be with her.
Joseph turned down the opportunity to indulge in sexual sin, but why? Why didn’t he ravish this woman and satisfy his sexual urges? Before we even attempt to answer this question, let us first look at five powerful reasons Joseph could have said ‘YES’ to sin sexually.
The first reason - He was 17 years old
Not many people know this, but Joseph was about 17 years old when this flagrant invitation to indulge in adultery came his way. This was at a time when his sexual urges were at an all-time high. Surely we would have understood if a young seventeen year old guy gave in to sexual sin.
The second reason - No one would know
He was in a foreign land with no accountability whatsoever. There was no one who would know what Joseph did. He was a slave in a foreign land, left to himself to do whatever he wanted. There was no conceivable consequence if he had said ‘yes’. He could have kept it as a secret between himself and the woman all his life.
The third reason - He experienced rejection from his own family
Joseph had been treated bitterly by his own brothers. They were the ones who sold him into slavery. The Bible tells us that they hated Joseph. Joseph therefore had a very good emotional desire to be accepted by someone....... anyone for that matter. He could have interpreted this ladies advances as an opportunity to be emotionally comforted and satisfied his emotional needs.
The Fourth reason - He experienced spiritual disappointment.
Of all the reasons to sin sexually, I believe spiritual disappointment is a huge reason Joseph could have had to sin sexually. When we feel as if the Lord has disappointed us, we can inadvertently and secretly wonder if it makes any sense to continue being faithful to God. He could have blamed God for allowing his brothers to sell him into slavery and rejected the idea of being faithful to God.
The Fifth reason - He was tempted repeatedly
If there ever was a reason for Joseph to give in, it would have been because he was repeatedly tempted. The Bible tells us that she spoke to him again and again inviting him to sleep with her. Saying ‘no’ once is a lot easier than saying ‘no’ all the time.
These are five powerful reasons Joseph could have used to give himself permission to say ‘YES’, but he didn’t use one of them. Joseph said ‘NO’ to sexual sin and the Bible tells us why?
Why Joseph said ‘No’ to sexual sin
Joseph saw sexual sin as a wicked thing (Genesis 39:9). This shows the state of Joseph's heart towards the Lord. Joseph feared the Lord. This doesn’t mean he was afraid of the Lord, but that he had a heart of great reverence towards the Lord.
Proverbs 8:13 says: To fear the Lord is to hate evil.
This is the reason Joseph said ‘NO’ to sin - HE FEARED THE LORD.
When our hearts are filled with the fear of the Lord, we will say ‘NO’ to sin and walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord. When our hearts are in the wrong place we prefer to give ourselves good reasons to sin against the Lord and we make excuses to sin. (In the next blog post I will be discussing how to develop a heart that fears the Lord, so look out for that post).
Only the fear of the Lord, that is, reverence towards God, can keep us from sinning against the Lord. Look at what Exodus 20:20 says:
Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."
The more our hearts are filled with the fear of the Lord, the more we will find it repulsive to sin against the Lord. Because of a heart filled with the fear of the Lord, Joseph saw sexual sin as a wicked thing and a great sin against the Lord.
If you would like to develop a heart of hatred towards sexual sin specifically, check out the book 21 Days To Sexual Purity. It is a Bible based devotional that has been used to lead hundreds of individuals in a walk of purity before the Lord.