Doing what’s right can land a person in a pot of trouble—or in Joseph’s case—a dungeon full of the king’s prisoners. On the other hand, not doing right puts one in a far worse position, as it did with Judah and God’s dealing with him. Sometimes, it just seems like there’s no good choice.
When our kids were growing up, Pastor Mark would often say, “It’s always right to do what’s right.” I hope it made an impression on them. It must have made one on me because I often remember it.
Joseph was in a situation. He tried reasoning with Potiphar’s wife. He appeals to her responsibility toward her husband and his boss. He tells her, “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife” (vs. 9).
He reminds her that he serves God: “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” That didn’t work, so he flat our refused her and avoided her. That was smart, but Joseph’s rejection made the woman more determined, and when he fled from her physical attempt, her desire turned to contempt, and Joseph—who had worked hard for Potiphar—finds himself falsely accused and tossed in prison.
That seems like a bad reward for doing what is right. As American Christians, I think we often feel entitled regarding God—that He will make an easy path and we’ll be showered with blessings because we feel like we deserve it.
It’s easy for us to look at Joseph’s life and dismiss his situation as God’s plan because we know the outcome, but Joseph didn’t see that at all. Joseph sees dreams unfulfilled, hard work unrewarded, and prison confinement. Yet, God did not leave him, and, I think, Joseph knew that.
As the Lord was with Joseph, so He is with us when life goes from bad to worse. In the very prison of our life, God is there and He shows us kindness. We should expect it. We should look for it. And, we should always do what’s right because “It’s always right to do what’s right.”
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything