I love reading the Book of Proverbs! I really do!
But in reality, this book of the Bible is actually written to all people but particularly to young men.
Do you know that?
Oh, yes. Many Bible scholars agree with that claim.
A young man who makes those life principles that are found in the Book of Proverbs his by reading, studying, meditating and applying them into his life, is the man who is qualified to be called, “a warrior!”
It is not tricky to identify this warrior among many men. Yeah, it is very easy.
Here are some of his characters:
“One day he (Joseph, “well-built and handsome” man, v.6) went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She (Potiphar’s wife) caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” (Genesis 39:11-12)
Why did Joseph do that? What made him run like a coward, leaving his cloak, running away from a woman who is throwing herself all over him?
This woman, Potiphar’s wife, asked Joseph to sleep with her (verse 7). Her desire is not to kiss him or shake his hands but to be “one” with him.
And Joseph knows what this woman is asking him to do and he very much knows that this “oneness” request is something that he cannot say “yes” to.
Joseph is very much aware of his surroundings. He knows how sacred marriage is. Even if he is 17 and not yet married at this time, Joseph knows how one man should sleep with his wife and one woman should sleep with her husband (1 Corinthians 7:2).
The thing is this woman who didn’t have any clue about Joseph’s private life thought that Joseph was one of those guys who bowed down at her feet and worshiped her body and beauty.
Joseph didn’t say to her, “You are not good enough for me.” Oh, no he didn’t say that. Joseph is a very respectful young man. He doesn’t speak to a woman like that. He knows that this woman is pretty and attractive.
Listen how he responded to her:
“- – -“With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”” (Genesis 39:8-9)
Notice, Joseph didn’t say to her, “You know, my boss, your husband, is very kind to me in many ways. So, the least I can do for him is to stay away from you, his wife.”
No! Joseph knows who he has to answer to first. He said, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
Wow! Did you see that? He is pretty much saying to her: You see, the first person I am going to offend by sleeping with you is not your husband but my God whom I love and worship, my God who is always with me and who is the source of my joy, pleasure, peace and blessings, my God who doesn’t hold anything good from me. If you were supposed to be my wife, my God wouldn’t have allowed Potiphar to marry you but He would have given you to me. So, I know my God is a good God. Your husband entrusted everything to my care because he saw how my God is always with me. How can I, then, Joseph, go against this loving God, a God who always has my best interest at heart? No, I won’t do such a thing!”
Joseph’s focus is not man but God! He knows that God is not just sitting up there in heaven, holding a stick to whip him when he stumbles but a loving Father who attends his soul, a God who is very present with him 24/7. So, Joseph has a very close, intimate and loving relationship with his God.
Do you want to read about another young man who is the total opposite of Joseph?
Read Proverbs 7:6-9
“At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.” (Proverbs 7:6-9 NIV)
Phew! What a contrast!
This young man is totally idle. He is devoted to nothing important in life. No one is above him. If there is, whoever that person is, despised before his eyes. He is the king and lord of his own life and he brags about it. He listens to no one. He has absolutely no responsibility in life. He is a care-less man. He has no purpose or goal in life. He is just killing time wandering around (or, browsing around). He doesn’t want to work hard. He has no motivation whatsoever to do something beneficial to someone. And He is among people who “had no sense,” just like him. The only thing in his mind is “to see the next naked woman,” “a toy” to play with and looking (or, browsing around) “at twilight – – as the dark of the night set in.”
The one major difference we see between these two young men is “knowledge!”
One is “void of understanding” (KJV) and the other one is full of knowledge.
“- – – knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10b)
Joseph knows his God and His words.
“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.” (Proverbs 2:1-11)
Knowing God and His words and the awareness of living in the very presence of this omnipresent and omnipotent, gracious and good God is the secret of Joseph’s life. ///