Genesis 38-40, Psalm 12
My residency began in 1988 and took place in a network of 3 hospitals: UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick, Saint Peters Medical Center and Muhlenberg Hospital. Being a Catholic Hospital, Saint Peters did not allow abortions to take place there. Whenever a patient was miscarrying, it was the job of the 1st year resident on call to examine and do the paper work to facilitate the D+C for the attending physician. One night when I inquired about a patient from the largest private group who was in the E.R., I was told by my senior resident to leave it alone. When this group wanted to perform abortions under the radar, they would tell the patient to come in through the E.R., claim that she was bleeding and cramping, and decline all exams from the residents and E.R. physicians. The attending would then come in and perform the abortion without anyone knowing. During my first month at this same hospital on my first weekend on call, I was ambitiously charting every patient’s progress in labor to better understand the normal progress of labor. One patient who was progressing wonderfully was called for a C-section despite no apparent problems with her labor. When I showed the attending my graph and asked, he told me to throw away my chart and to be quiet. I assisted on the C-section only to see him run out afterwards with his tennis outfit on and to the match that he was late for. Though I have witnessed much good in my profession, there have been many who go about their work unethically and unnoticed by the majority.
We see Joseph being approached sexually by his master’s wife in Genesis 39. Who could really blame him if he caved into the temptation. He was 17 years old, sold by his own family into slavery, alone in a foreign country, and who would have known. Joseph was placed in charge of his master’s house due to God’s blessing of Joseph. We read in Genesis 39:6-7, “…Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and said, “Lie with me”. Notice Joseph’s reply, without hesitation in 39:8-9, “But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Notice his primary concern is not sinning against God. We read in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” When David’s sin of adultery and murder is uncovered by the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:1-10, notice David’s response in Psalm 51:3-4, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight…”. As the story unfolds with Joseph, the aggression of Potiphar’s wife intensifies and we read in Genesis 39:12, “that she caught him by the garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.” Notice Joseph doesn’t explain, share his views, or discuss; he flees. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul writes, “Flee sexual immorality…”. Paul also tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts;…”. Realizing that God always sees and that flirting with sin will often lead to compromise, we are told to flee. Joseph was punished by his master, after his wife lied, and was thrown in prison. Doing the right thing will not always have the right earthly results immediately.
We know that we are sinners, saved by grace. We can all go through life looking pretty good, keeping those dark sins hidden from the eyes of many. The author of Hebrews writes in chapter 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all thngs are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Jesus said in Luke 12:2, “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.” The process of sanctification is a long process, never completed this side of eternity. As we learn form the examples above, we never really get away with anything, since the One who sees and the One we truly answer to is God. Realizing this may we all keep short accounts with Him and come to Him frequently acknowledging and confessing and repenting of our sins. If things don’t seem to go well as we keep God at the forefront of our decisions as it did for Joseph, may we never forget Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: