Explore The Bible Study: Tempted

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How would you answer this question, If we know what is right, can we do it? As you walk through Genesis 39 this week as a part of LifeWay's Explore The Bible Study: Tempted, ask yourself how you could lead a group to answer this question with a resounding, "Yes!"

We are all faced with temptation. Sometimes temptations are subtle and sometimes they are very obvious. Many times, success comes with more temptation. This was the case with Joseph. You and your group can learn a lot regarding how to respond to temptation through this week's session.

Modified Outline of Passage
The Supplemental Teaching Ideas provide a completely modified plan and expand the passages that will be covered. Here is a sampling of the approach taken:

Read the complete chapter: Genesis 39:1-23 ,and guide a discussion following this approach. Details for guiding the discussion are available in the Supplemental Teaching Ideas.

“The Lord was with Joseph”
  • Underline these phrases in the passage:  Verse 2 – “The Lord was with Joseph”; Verse 3 – “The Lord was with him”; Verse 5 – “The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph”; Verse 21 – “The Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him”; Verse 23 – “the Lord was with him.”
  • Why is this significant for us to understand, considering all that Joseph faced at this point?
  • How can knowing that “the Lord is with you” help you remain faithful when faced with temptation?
“Successful”
  • How many times is the word "success," or "successful" or a similar word used in this passage? (i.e. – “successful” – vss. 2, 3, and 23; “Blessing” – v.5; “extended kindness” – v.21) 
  • How did Potiphar, who didn’t know God, respond to Joseph’s success? (Joseph found favor and was promoted – v.4; He was given more responsibility – v.5; He was trusted with everything that Potiphar owned – v.6)
  • How did the prison warden respond to Joseph’s relationship to the Lord in Genes 39:21-23? (He was put in charge of the other prisoners; He trusted Joseph with the prisoners; etc.)
  • Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house. He didn’t choose this path; It was chosen for him. Finally, Joseph was in prison. He certainly didn’t choose this path either. Yet the Bible describes the results with words like “success” and “blessed.” 
  • Joseph remained faithful to the Lord and the Lord used that, not only to bring “success,” but to be a witness to Potiphar, his entire household, and eventually, the entire prison he was sent to.
Genesis 39:6-20
  • How could Joseph have rationalized giving in to Potiphar’s wife’s proposal?
  • Knowing what you know about the story of Joseph, what could have been the long-term consequences for Joseph and his role in God’s plans, had he given in to the wife’s proposal? How would that change the way Joseph was described in these passages?
  • The consequences to Joseph’s life would have been more than just the illicit affair. The entire story of Joseph, his family, and the future of Egypt, and his place in God’s story of redemption would have changed if he had given in.
  • The key is to be like Joseph. He knew what he had to do and explained it very clearly, “No one in this house is greater than I am. He [Potiphar] has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do this immense evil, and how could I sin against God?”  (Genesis 39:9 CSB)
“It’s not fair” 
  • Do you think Joseph might have thought this during his first days in prison?
  • If you didn’t know the rest of the story of Joseph, would you think Joseph should have just gone ahead and committed adultery? Why or why not?
  • How would you react if you were put in jail for doing the right thing? Or, if you lost your job for doing the right thing? Or, if you were falsely accused of a crime as Joseph was?
Apply
  • Why do you think so many professing Christians struggle with compromise and giving in to temptation?
  • What can we learn from Joseph that will help us answer the question, If we know what is right, can we do it?
  • Making God-honoring choices may cost us jobs, friendships, reputations, or even our families, but God will be with us and honor our choices to follow Him as He did with Joseph. When we make the right decisions, yet are faced with consequences, we need to remember the final phrase in Genesis 39:23, “the Lord was with him, and the Lord made everything that he did successful” and the promise of Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose”
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