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Final Instructions: Keep far, far away from evil

Notes & Transcripts

"After Joseph had been taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelites, Potiphar an Egyptian, one of Pharaoh's officials and the manager of his household, bought him from them. 2As it turned out, God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. 3His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. 4He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. 5From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, 6and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day. Joseph was a strikingly handsome man. 7As time went on, his master's wife became infatuated with Joseph and one day said, "Sleep with me." He wouldn't do it. He said to his master's wife, "Look, with me here, my master doesn't give a second thought to anything that goes on here—"he's put me in charge of everything he owns. 9He treats me as an equal. The only thing he hasn't turned over to me is you. You're his wife, after all! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?" 10She pestered him day after day after day, but he stood his ground. He refused to go to bed with her. 11On one of these days he came to the house to do his work and none of the household servants happened to be there. 12She grabbed him by his cloak, saying, "Sleep with me!" He left his coat in her hand and ran out of the house. 13When she realized that he had left his coat in her hand and run outside, 14she called to her house servants: "Look—this Hebrew shows up and before you know it he's trying to seduce us. He tried to make love to me but I yelled as loud as I could. 15With all my yelling and screaming, he left his coat beside me here and ran outside." 16She kept his coat right there until his master came home. 17She told him the same story. She said, "The Hebrew slave, the one you brought to us, came after me and tried to use me for his plaything. 18When I yelled and screamed, he left his coat with me and ran outside." 19When his master heard his wife's story, telling him, "These are the things your slave did to me," he was furious. 20Joseph's master took him and threw him into the jail where the king's prisoners were locked up." (Genesis 39:1‑20, The Message)

"Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute. He went to her. 2The news got around: "Samson's here." They gathered around in hiding, waiting all night for him at the city gate, quiet as mice, thinking, "At sunrise we'll kill him." 3Samson was in bed with the woman until midnight. Then he got up, seized the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts, bolts and all, hefted them on his shoulder, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. 4Some time later he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek (Grapes). Her name was Delilah. 5The Philistine tyrants approached her and said, "Seduce him. Discover what's behind his great strength and how we can tie him up and humble him. Each man's company will give you a hundred shekels of silver." 6So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me, dear, the secret of your great strength, and how you can be tied up and humbled." 7Samson told her, "If they were to tie me up with seven bowstrings—the kind made from fresh animal tendons, not dried out—then I would become weak, just like anyone else." 8The Philistine tyrants brought her seven bowstrings, not dried out, and she tied him up with them. 9The men were waiting in ambush in her room. Then she said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He snapped the cords as though they were mere threads. The secret of his strength was still a secret. 10Delilah said, "Come now, Samson, you're playing with me, making up stories. Be serious; tell me how you can be tied up." 11He told her, "If you were to tie me up tight with new ropes, ropes never used for work, then I would be helpless, just like anybody else." 12So Delilah got some new ropes and tied him up. She said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" The men were hidden in the next room. He snapped the ropes from his arms like threads. 13Delilah said to Samson, "You're still playing games with me, teasing me with lies. Tell me how you can be tied up." He said to her, "If you wove the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on the loom and drew it tight, then I would be as helpless as any other mortal." When she had him fast asleep, Delilah took the seven braids of his hair and wove them into the fabric on the loom 14and drew it tight. Then she said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He woke from his sleep and ripped loose from both the loom and fabric! 15She said, "How can you say 'I love you' when you won't even trust me? Three times now you've toyed with me, like a cat with a mouse, refusing to tell me the secret of your great strength." 16She kept at it day after day, nagging and tormenting him. Finally, he was fed up, he couldn't take another minute of it. 17He spilled it. He told her, "A razor has never touched my head. I've been God's Nazirite from conception. If I were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would be as helpless as any other mortal." 18When Delilah realized that he had told her his secret, she sent for the Philistine tyrants, telling them, "Come quickly—this time he's told me the truth." They came, bringing the bribe money. 19When she got him to sleep, his head on her lap, she motioned to a man to cut off the seven braids of his hair. Immediately he began to grow weak. His strength drained from him. 20Then she said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He woke up, thinking, "I'll go out, like always, and shake free." He didn't realize that God had abandoned him. 21The Philistines grabbed him, gouged out his eyes, and took him down to Gaza. They shackled him in irons and put him to the work of grinding in the prison." (Judges 16:1‑21, The Message)

What's the difference in these two stories? One man fled from temptation—that was Joseph. The other man flirted with temptation/—that was Samson.  In the Christian walk, it is a robust sign of spiritual health to have a fear of and a shrinking back from all that would grieve our Lord, and to obediently separate oneself from whatever the Spirit reveals as wrong.

In his final set of instructions to the believers at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul instructs them to abstain from every form of evil.

Con. To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

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