The Gospel Brings Persecution

6 … And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.

12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,

14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:

15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.

16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.

17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:

18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.

19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.

20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. Gen. 39:6-20

More often than not, the devil comes dressed as a woman. And if you refuse his advances, he has only one option for you: persecution.

It would have been the easiest of things for Potiphar’s wife to let things be, after Joseph had fled from her. But she would not. Through this action Joseph had proved that he would never lie with her, and she vowed in her heart to make him ‘see red’.

And red he did see, even though not to the extent she probably had intended. As a slave, he ought to have been killed immediately. But God’s hand was upon Joseph, and He was working all things for his good. Instead, Joseph was thrown into the king’s prison, and there he languished for 13 long years!

As children of God, persecution is the only thing that awaits us in this world. I realize that is not exactly ‘good news’; but it is the news of the hour – and the hour is now. If you have been hearing the gospel of how much God only wants to bless you and how He will not allow the devil to touch you even with his small finger, I can assure you that you have been hearing the wrong gospel. Actually, there is nothing in the Bible to support such beliefs. On the contrary, our Lord Jesus said,

“I am come to send fire on the earth…” (Lk. 12:49)

He also said,

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Mat. 10:34)

Where do we get the idea that Jesus brought peace and prosperity?

Right at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God had told the serpent:

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)

In other words, God said He would allow the devil to do something against us!

In the Bible, we see that this happened with Job, the Apostle Paul and all the men and women who walked with God. They all followed in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were persecuted!

The problem with the church today, of course, is that it is complacent and worldly. In other words, it is world-friendly. But that is no position for the church. It can only be so for a church that is avoiding persecution. Persecution refers to a person who has turned their back on the world and its ways. The Bible says about Joseph:

And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” (v. 10)

In the days that we are living especially, persecution is bound to increase. The world has so suddenly become emboldened against God it’s almost surreal. We will have a choice to make.

That is why we need to have the mind of Christ in us. That statement, “To have the mind of Christ” might have appeared banal a few years back, but today it is imperative. Having the mind of Christ means denying yourself, taking up our cross and following Christ.

And that is exactly why any other gospel simply will not do! Nothing apart from the gospel of the cross can prepare us for what is coming.

Jesus set His face towards Jerusalem, knowing He would suffer and die there. Nothing would turn Him back. But again He knew it was the will of the Father that he undergo the suffering. Resurrection life would come out of that suffering.

We, too, must accept and be willing to undergo suffering in this world. We must be prepared to undergo opposition of every sort, for the enemy’s anger against us has been kindled. And yet… the enemy is inconsequential here. It is God who is in control of everything, and He uses even the enemy’s anger for His purposes. That is why scripture says that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. 8:28).

We therefore need not fear as we go through persecution. On the contrary, we should be emboldened and strengthened in hope of receiving something far much better.

As Joseph would prove later, in dying we live – and live big!

[Below: The sun sets over Dar es Salaam City]

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