David and Joseph are key characters from the Old Testament. Each of these men played a major role in advancing the kingdom of Israel and continuing the lineage of the Messiah. For one of these leaders, however, a moral lapse threatened God’s plan of redemption.
One day, David caught a glimpse of a beautiful woman bathing. A glimpse turned into a gaze. And a gaze turned into lust. And lust turned into action. Although David discovered that the woman was married, he pursued an intimate relationship with her. David tried to hide the affair and the resulting pregnancy by having her husband killed. But David’s plan would backfire and cost him greatly.
Joseph faced a similar situation, although in his case, he was the one being pursued, being invited into an inappropriate relationship with the wife of Potiphar. When the married woman tried to seduce Joseph, he fled the room and the temptation.
We can learn a lot about resisting temptation from the examples of David and Joseph. David chose to feed his temptation, watching Bathsheba bathe and then pursuing her as if she were his own. Joseph decided to flee his temptation, literally running away from a potential affair with Potiphar’s wife.
So, just what are those areas in life that we need to flee? Are there things we listen to or look at, people that influence us, or pet sins that lead us down paths we would be better off not taking?
Ultimately, our best example comes, not from David or Joseph, but from Jesus. As the writer of Hebrews states, Jesus was “…tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV). Jesus leads us by his example and, more importantly, he forgives us when we fail.