The Importance of Fleeing Sexual Temptation

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 38-39

I found it especially interesting to read Genesis 38 and 39 together. Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah, who got his widowed daughter-in-law pregnant, while Genesis 39 tells the story of Judah’s younger brother, Joseph, who successfully resisted Potiphar’s wife in spite of her incredible persistence.

Genesis 38 – Sexual Sin and Human Pride

I mainly want to focus on Genesis 39 today, but before we get there I do want to point out two things in Genesis 38.

"About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” - Genesis 38:24 ESV 

Judah is the father of this child. Judah is the reason that Tamar is pregnant. Yet Judah is who demands that she be burned. 🥺😭

How quickly we point out the sin in other people when we are guilty of that very same sin! How prone we are to hate lying and pride and sin in other people, while overlooking it in ourselves!

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3 ESV

This is part of loving your neighbor as yourself. Somehow we all manage to forgive our own lying and deceit and sexual sin and pride. We make excuses for our own misbehavior, yet we are quick to point fingers at others. May it never be.

I pray that we desire repentance in ourselves as well as our neighbor to repent. May we be merciful as we have been shown mercy. May we not think that we are somehow better than the other person when we are both eating pig slop.

As a dear Christian sister often reminds me, “We are all just beggars looking for somewhere to buy bread.”

The second thing that jumps out at me from Genesis 38 is that Perez, one of the twin sons who was conceived in Tamar through this act of sexual immorality, is the child that God chose to be in the line of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:3)

God uses all things, sometimes even sinful things, to accomplish His purposes. Does that mean we should continue in sin? May it never be. But does it mean that none of us are beyond hope and that God is able to use even our sinful past to bring Him glory? Yes. Yes, it does.

I have deep regrets over many things I did in the first 25 years of my life – maybe you do, too – yet those things shaped who I am today. I pray that God would use my brokenness to be holes for His glory to shine out of.

Genesis 29 – Handsome Joseph and Potiphar’s Persistent Wife

Let’s look next at Genesis 29 – a completely different reaction to sexual temptation.

Potiphar’s wife, a woman of authority, the wife of his boss, aggressively pursued Joseph – a very different situation than the one Judah was in – and yet Joseph remained steadfast, refusing to even “listen to her.” (Genesis 39:10)

The scriptures are full of encouragement to FLEE from temptation and sin. We must actively train ourselves – and our children – to FLEE from temptation.

And let us not be like Lot’s wife who kept looking back as she was being forced to flee Sodom. Let us not be like the Israelites who thought fondly about their years in Egyptian bondage. Let’s be women who flee from temptation with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

“How can a young man
keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.”

Psalm 119:9 ESV

“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!” Proverbs 5:3-12 ESV

“So flee youthful passions
and pursue righteousness, faith,
love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

2 Timothy 2:22 ESV

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:13b-20 ESV

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your mercy and grace and forgiveness. I don’t deserve it. I have been Tamar and I have been Potiphar’s wife. Like 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Such was I, Lord! But, Lord, You have washed me clean through the blood of Jesus. You have given me new desires and new power by Your Spirit at work in me. Praise Your name!

I pray that You would protect our husbands and sons. Please, Father, help them to keep their hearts and minds pure. Help them to think about what they’re thinking about and to pay attention to what has their attention. Show them the way of escape when they are tempted and give them the wisdom, strength, and desire to flee.

Please protect my sisters and me – and our daughters – from the temptation to be temptresses. Make us honorable women. May we be found faithful – to You and to our husbands. Create in us clean hands and pure hearts, O LORD. Teach us to that true fulfillment and satisfaction is found only at the feet of Jesus, so that we would not seek it elsewhere.

You are worthy. You alone are worthy. Thank you, Jesus!

In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

When I Think About the Lord

When I think about the Lord
How He saved, how He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How He picked me up
Turned me around
How He set my feet
On solid ground

That makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus
Lord, You’re worthy
Of all the glory, and all the honor
And all the praise
Oh, makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus
Lord, You’re worthy
Of all the glory, and all the honor
And all the praise

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