EGW SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1


Chapter 39

9. Early Impressions Fortified Heart—The early impressions made upon his [Joseph's] mind garrisoned his heart in the hour of fierce temptation, and led him to exclaim, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Childhood is the season in which the most abiding impressions may be made.... 1BC 1096.5

The seeds sown in infancy by the careful, God-fearing mother will become trees of righteousness, which will blossom and bear fruit; and the lessons given by a God-fearing father by precept and example, will, as in the case of Joseph, yield an abundant harvest by-and-by (Good Health, January 1880). 1BC 1097.1

Entire Future Suspended on Moment's Decision—Few temptations are more dangerous or more fatal to young men than the temptation to sensuality and none if yielded to will prove so decidedly ruinous to soul and body for time and eternity. The welfare of his entire future is suspended upon the decision of a moment. Joseph calmly casts his eyes to heaven for help, slips off his loose outer garment, leaving it in the hand of his tempter and while his eye is lighted with determined resolve in the place of unholy passion, he exclaims, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” The victory is gained; he flees from the enchanter; he is saved (Letter 3, 1879). 1BC 1097.2

9-19. Providence Will Overrule Enemy's Devices—Amidst the snares to which all are exposed, they need strong and trustworthy defenses on which to rely. Many in this corrupt age have so small a supply of the grace of God, that in many instances their defense is broken down by the first assault, and fierce temptations take them captives. The shield of grace can preserve all unconquered by the temptations of the enemy, though surrounded with the most corrupting influences. By firm principle, and unwavering trust in God, their virtue and nobleness of character can shine, and, although surrounded with evil, no taint need be left upon their virtue and integrity. And if like Joseph they suffer calumny and false accusations, Providence will overrule all the enemy's devices for good, and God will in His own time exalt as much higher, as for a while they were debased by wicked revenge (Spiritual Gifts 3:145, 146). 1BC 1097.3

20 (Lamentations 3:27; Matthew 23:12). Seeming Prosperity of Vice, a Severe Test—Joseph's faithful integrity led to the loss of his reputation and his liberty. This is the severest test that the virtuous and God-fearing are subjected to, that vice seems to prosper while virtue is trampled in the dust. The seducer was living in prosperity as a model of virtuous propriety, while Joseph, true to principle, was under a degrading charge of crime the most revolting. Joseph's religion kept his temper sweet and his sympathy with humanity warm and strong, notwithstanding all his trials. There are those who if they feel they are not rightly used, become sour, ungenerous, crabbed and uncourteous in their words and deportment. They sink down discouraged, hateful and hating others. But Joseph was a Christian. No sooner does he enter upon prison life, than he brings all the brightness of his Christian principles into active exercise; he begins to make himself useful to others. He enters into the troubles of his fellow prisoners. He is cheerful, for he is a Christian gentleman. God was preparing him under this discipline for a situation of great responsibility, honor, and usefulness, and he was willing to learn; he took kindly to the lessons the Lord would teach him. He learned to bear the yoke in his youth. He learned to govern by first learning obedience himself. He humbled himself, and the Lord exalted him to special honor (Letter 3, 1879). 1BC 1097.4

Hardships Prepared Joseph for Exalted Position—The part which Joseph acted in connection with the scenes of the gloomy prison, was that which raised him finally to prosperity and honor. God designed that he should obtain an experience by temptations, adversity, and hardships, to prepare him to fill an exalted position (Spiritual Gifts 3:146). 1BC 1097.5