Athlete, See the Foreshadow

*This series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 39

Everything Joseph touches turns to gold. He gives life and blessing to everyone and everything around him. The words "prosper," "success,"  "favor," and "blessing" appear throughout the chapter, all "because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did" (39:23). When we read the gospels, we see Jesus restoring life to people left and right, so Joseph continues to foreshadow the life of Jesus in this way.

Joseph also foreshadows Jesus' response to temptation, denying immediate satisfaction for the goodness of God's ways and for the glory of God. First, Joseph realizes that sleeping with Potiphar's wife is more than a sin against her and Potiphar, but ultimately a sin against God (39:9). Second, he consistently keeps a far distance between himself and temptation (39:10). Third, when temptation catches him by surprise, he runs as fast as he can in the other direction, even at the cost of his cloak. Like Jesus, he is then wrongfully accused and punished for another's sin, but the LORD is still with him.

Questions for Reflection & Prayer

1. Not too many people would envy Joseph's life up to this point, yet he continues to dwell with the LORD and seeks to glorify in extremely difficult situations. Where are you looking today for life and blessing?  Is your hope in having everything go your way and according to plan, or in Jesus, the one who gives lasting life and blessing?

2. In what areas of your life might you need to apply Joseph's response to temptation (39:9-12)?  It is an extremely important exercise to consider how our specific sins offend God (39:9) and how they steal from the life God offers, so that our motivation moves beyond rule-keeping.

3. Take time to praise Jesus for his perfect denial of temptation on our behalf.

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