Thursday, August 29, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--Thursday

Collect of the Week (Proper 16-C)
O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Genesis 39:6b-21 (From the Daily Bible Story Lectionary)
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.  7 And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, "Lie with me."  8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge.  9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"  10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house,  12 she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.  13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house,  14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, "See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice.  15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house."  16 Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home,  17 and she told him the same story, saying, "The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me.  18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house."
19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, "This is the way your servant treated me," his anger was kindled.  20 And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.  21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Catechism: The Fifth & Sixth Commandments
What is the Fifth Commandment?
            You shall not murder.
What does this mean?
            We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.

What is the sixth Commandment?
      You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean?
      We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

In the name of T Jesus.

Even though Joseph lived about 1,900 years before the time of St. Paul, the wisdom that we see in both men is the same.  Paul would write the Corinthian Christians to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18) and in Joseph we see what that looks like.  What Paul teaches, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we see Joseph carry out, also by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by whom we have the gift of repentance and the desire to keep God’s Word.  The Lord has given the Six Commandment for the protection of His institution of marriage, and where Paul would one day exhort Christians to live sexually pure lives, we see in Joseph, an example of how to do that.

Notice, that Joseph doesn’t even risk dabbling with this temptation.  There is no flirtation, no lingering of eyes, no flattery of speech so as to indicate a desire that he wished he could act on.  There is the threat of temptation, and Joseph fled.

Of course, like Joseph, our fleeing from temptation is no guarantee that the temptation will no longer continue.  Joseph was handsome in form and appearance, and Potiphar’s wife didn’t give up on her pursuits of him.  Though he fled temptation, temptation ran to him.  And so it goes for us.  The Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated was opted out of (Yes, SI does give that option, and will extend your subscription by one week of you take it!), internet history is monitored and filtered, even the choice of movie and television show is made with care to avoid sexual temptation, and to love and honor our spouse.  But temptation pursues us from all fronts.  Billboards, pop-up screens, waitresses trying to make an extra buck, or any number of unsolicited sources of sexual temptation pursue us, and tempt us to dishonor the gifts of sexuality, marriage, and more.

With Christ, there is forgiveness of sins.  And with Christ’s forgiveness comes a new creation—the old has gone, behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).  Like Joseph, though we be tempted, we need not give in.  And even though the temptation persists, as we flee to Christ and the refuge of His Word we are reminded not only of the forgiveness that is ours, but of the beautiful and holy gift he has given in our sexuality, and in our spouses.  And there, we are reminded that these gifts aren’t worth forfeiting for a momentary whim of pleasure.

Of course, apart from the Holy Spirit, we would all give in.  But with Him there is repentance, and in repentance, a new man comes forth to live by faith, and to fight against the flesh.  With repentance and faith, we lead sexually pure and decent lives, and the state of marriage is held in high esteem.  In the name of T Jesus. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, You were tempted in every way, just as we are, yet You were without sin (Heb 4:15). Be with us in our temptations, free us from the prison of sin, and by Your cross brign us to eternal life. Amen (TLSB, p. 77).

Daily Prayer (For Thursday)

We pray…for the Church and her pastors; for teachers, deaconesses, and other church workers; for missionaries and for all who serve the Church; for fruitful and salutary use of the blessed Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood.

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