hen you look into the Bible there are countless incidents recorded that are fantastic. They depict men and women like us doing extraordinary things with faith in their lives. Some have often noted that as we continue to study these texts time and time again, there are details and applications made at some occasions that previously were not noticed. This cannot be because the text has changed; it must be because we have changed. For example, when you read of Abraham actually committing faithfully to begin to offer Issac as a sacrifice before God, the impact of that sacrifice does not truly “hit home” until one is a parent themselves. We learn from our perspective which is ever-changing, that there are things to be gleaned from our life experiences within the lessons of the Bible.
Today I would like to mention one of these incidents that shows the perspective a reader has which may affect the text in a positive way. In Genesis 39 we read of a man named Joseph. He is the youngest son of the Patriarch Jacob (also called Israel). He was well-loved by his father and thus a special robe was given to him to signify this. Unfortunately, the other sons of Jacob were jealous of this attention and with other factors in consideration, they sold Joseph into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and served the household of a officer of the King of Egypt named Potiphar. While under his care, Potiphar’s household prospered and more and more trust was given to Joseph.
While serving in this position, there was a situation that Joseph faced which was a pivotal moment in his life. And based on Joseph’s perspective, he overcame it. In Genesis 39:7-10 there is account made that Potiphar’s wife lusted after Joseph and tempted Joseph to sleep with her. This was not just a one time offer, for in reading verse 10 we learn it took place “day by day…” The answer that Joseph gave in why he was refusing to exploit this situation shows a very clear acknowledgment of his own perspective. “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” (Genesis 39:9). Joseph refused her advances because he understood he was just a servant of her husband, but also and more importantly he would be sinning against God. If Joseph wanted he could have lost sight of this fact and lied to himself about the situation. But instead, he still had enough foresight to understand that it was not a good decision, and his own perspective kept the situation in control.
In a similar way, we need to keep our own perspectives open to be able to not only make wise decisions, but also to gain new insights to important situations recorded in scripture.