BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING –

Lesson 1

THE ABANDONED COAT

“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. 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. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 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:” (Gen. 39:11-14).

When Potiphar’s wife took hold of Joseph to force him to lie with her, he merely abandoned his cloak and ran.  It was only right that he should.  Potiphar’s wife belonged to Potiphar and not to Joseph, so when she approached him, it was nothing short of enticing him to commit adultery.  Falling to that temptation would not only have been a breach of faithfulness against Potiphar but against the God of Heaven Himself.  Notice specifically what Joseph says:  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? (Gen. 39:9).

Like the harlot in Proverbs 7:10, Potiphar’s wife had laid a trap for Joseph and thought to take him by her trickery.  As he went about serving her husband every day, his youth and vigor must have appealed to her, and it appears she had arranged for the other servants in the house leave, in order to make his temptation to sin even greater.  Perhaps she painted herself like Jezebel or she may even have worn lewd clothing for appeal.  We can assume that she did not have the reputation for being a common harlot, because she was a married woman of some status.  However, we see she was subtle of heart, in stark contrast to the purity of heart and modesty, which becomes women professing godliness (1 Tim. 2:10).

Notice how the temptation to sin came to Joseph.  It was not presented to him as a hideous, fire-breathing monster, but as something soft and enticing—something perhaps that he might do and nobody would ever know.  The Devil would never win any battles for our souls if he made sin look like what it really is.  Our Heavenly Father describes the Devil as going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), but the ones who are tempted usually do not see him like that because he crouches secretly and pounces suddenly as the deed is done.  What the unwary person may see is Satan disguised as an angel of light, thus increasing the temptation (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

God offers many, many alternatives to sin.  One method of resisting temptation is to flee.  “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).  We are told to “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).  Again, we are told to “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).  Finally, we know that we are to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Joseph left his cloak and ran.  Viewing his action from the eyes of the world, that may have seemed cowardly, but in the eyes of God he behaved admirably.  Joseph was righteous and suffered for it (1 Pet. 2:20), but he was blessed by God for his faithfulness.

 

QUESTIONS:

  1. Joseph was the first child of ________ ( 22:24) and his father’s ____________ (adjective) son (Gen. 37:31).
  2. Approximately how old was Joseph when his brothers sold him into Egyptian bondage?
  3. Who bought him first?
  4. How did he happen to become a servant to Potiphar?
  5. Who was Potiphar? What was his position under King Pharaoh?
  6. Why would being the most trusted servant in his household be such a good position?
  7. What happened to Joseph when he refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife?
  8. How did she convince her husband that he had tried to molest her?
  9. After Joseph was sent to prison, what happened to him there?

RESEARCH QUESTION:

  1. We see by Joseph’s example that we may fleetemptation; however, there are other ways to overcome. Give as many ways as you can find in scripture that show us how to win the battle against sin. You might consider these examples to begin your study: Psalm 1:1—not even walking, standing or sitting near wrong or perhaps Psalm 119:11—putting the word in our hearts as protection.  Suggested search words might include: temptation, sin not, sin against, overcome, stand, fight (note the battle language).  These are only a few of many ideas to help your research.

DID JOB LIVE BEFORE THE FLOOD?

The question is not an easy one and requires some study to understand.  There are several reasons we believe that Job lived after the flood.

First, the flood generally destroyed most landmarks because of all the volcanic ash that we see in layers all over the world.

Thus, the rivers that are called the Euphrates, Tigris, etc. are no doubt in the same area, but not necessarily the same route or places they flowed to before.

For example:

“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.  11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.  13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.  14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates” (Genesis 2:10-14).

The first river had to be supplied by something and it had to be from the mist (dew?) the Lord caused to water the earth before the flood.  “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.  6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:5-6).

Today there is no way that any river could go all the way from Babylon to Africa because the terrain is not the same as it was before the flood.  The only river we have today with even the same name is the Euphrates.

  1. Some claim no nations existed before the flood, but we can’t really prove either way, for nothing specific is said about nations, either for or against. However, it would seem that because Eliphaz was a Temanite, a descendent of Esau, who lived after the flood, that proves Job’s friend was after the flood.

Thus, it would be best to say that “the only reference to the name “Temanite” besides what is recorded in Job is Eliphaz’ son Teman (Gen 36:11; 1 Chron 1:36).  Esau gave birth to an ‘Eliphaz,’ whose son was Teman (Gen 36:4).  This would be a strange coincidence if this is not the same Eliphaz, Esau’s son.   Bildad was a Shuhite which was the name of one of Abraham’s sons by Keturah (Gen 25:2; 1 Chr 1:32).

Thus, it would appear that Job and his friends lived after Abraham and either with or after Esau.

OT:8487Teyman (tay-mawn’); or Teman (tay-mawn’); the same as OT:8486; Teman, the name of two Edomites, and of the region and descendant of one of them:

OT:8486teyman (tay-mawn’); or teman (tay-mawn’); denominative from OT:3225; the south (as being on the right hand of a person facing the east):

  1. Job was the richest man in the East, but when we see his wealth (camels, cattle, asses, etc), his wealth would not have added up to much more than a few hundred thousand dollars, which is nothing compared to Solomon. Therefore Job must have lived shortly after the flood.
  2. Job’s friends refer to the great ages of their ancestors. “I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare; 18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it: 19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them” (Job 15:17-19).

The highlighted text indicates that there were no strangers, which only would have been true with Noah and his sons soon after they left the ark.

  1. Job’s age indicates that he lived a total of 140 years after his first 10 children died. “After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations” (Job 42:1616).

When Job had the first 10 children, he had to be at least 30 years old, which would mean he lived a total of at least 175 years.  This is the age of those in Abraham’s time or before, so he must have lived long before Moses declared man’s days would be 70 or 80 years (Gen. 6:3; Psa. 90:10).

INTO ALL THE WORLD – Part 4

“These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab” (Deut. 1:1).

“And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them;” (Deut. 1:3).

“And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:  10 The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.  11 (The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)  12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?  13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.  14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.  15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes” (Deuteronomy 1:9-15).

Questions:

  1. Who is talking?
  2. To whom is he talking?
  3. Where were they?
  4. Near what river?
  5. Also, not far from what Sea?
  6. What cities were close by?
  7. How many years had it been since they left Egypt?
  8. What month was it?
  9. What day?
  10. Who told Moses to speak these words? See Deuteronomy 1:3.
  11. How many men were chosen to be judges or overseers?
  12. How did God bless these men to be able to do the work?

Who is Jethro?

“And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness, which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.  10 And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.  11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.  12 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God” (Exo. 18:9-12).

“And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren (Num. 27:19; Deut. 27:11; Deut. 31:14; 1 Thess. 2:11; 1 Tim. 5:21; 1 Tim. 6:17), and judge righteously between every man and his brother (Exo. 23:2-3; Exo. 23:7-8; Lev. 19:15; Deut. 16:18-19; 2 Sam. 23:3; 2 Chr. 19:6-10; Psa. 58:1; John 7:24), and the stranger that is with him” (Deut. 1:16).

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.  17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone” (Num. 11:16-17).

“And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him (Moses), and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease” (Num. 11:25-27).

INTO ALL THE WORLD—Part 3

DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT

Even though I have dealt with people all over the world since late 1968, lately I have been wearied by my sister’s continual requests for medical help (anything ranging from “diagnosis please” to Band-Aids).  They ask for pain tablets, powder for heat or other rashes, creams for fungus, milk or vitamins for heat boils—all this from every one of them–so much so that I finally told one sister I wouldn’t/couldn’t deal with her mother’s painful leg when I had no way of knowing what actually happened.  I was beginning to feel smothered—mainly because it seems I can never just have a normal conversation with anyone anymore.

Last Sunday night, after our evening services, I simply disappeared and went back to the apartment, and of course one younger lady knocked on my door to ask to come in to talk.  I was kind about it, but I told her no.  About half an hour later, after I had rested a bit, two others came just to chat a while. That was refreshing.  They did not want me to do anything, other than listen to their report of what they had been doing the past week.

The very next day in my evening English class, I was trying to help the few ladies who come for extra practice to know how to study the assigned Scripture reading so they will not just call words they don’t understand.

The reading happened to be Deuteronomy 1:9-15.  At the time it didn’t dawn on me to think of the class exercise as an answer to prayer, but later I realized it was.  I started by asking the ladies to read the passage to me in their own language first and then asked them some questions to help them understand what it was about.

Who is speaking?  How do you find that information?  To whom is he speaking?  What is the problem?  What was the solution?  How many men were chosen to be judges or overseers?  How did God bless these men to be able to do the work?

I helped the sisters to conjure a picture in their minds of what it might be like to judge more than a million people from morning to evening—day-in-and-day-out.  Some would take Moses’ advice (judgment or command) and some might not, yet they required Moses’ time to ask.

Then I asked them who had suggested to Moses that his job was too great to endure.  They all smiled when I reminded them it was his father-in-law, Jethro, (Exo. 18:13-24). I showed them how to look for Jethro’s name in computer search engines and where to read more about him.  Only a few have smart phones, and even fewer have computers, but they could see how I searched on the class computer. They could read the passages I pointed out.  They could answer the questions.

I used my Bible Soft program to search some related passages, showing how that Moses had been a prophet and a judge for God’s people since they left Egypt, but after forty+ years he grew weary of their continual coming.  He even dared to ask God if he had given birth to the Israelites and had carried them in his womb.  That was discouragement at its height.  I asked them if we sometimes discourage each other like Jethro and the people had discouraged Moses.  In my own mind, I wondered if I could truly be used, and yes, even abused at times without complaining.  Do I take my problems to God, or do I murmur like the Israelite people did?  Maybe this was a lesson to help me not to be discouraged with “their continual coming.”

INTO ALL THE WORLD – Part 2

Actually going into all the world is not at all what I had in mind at age 18 or even 28.  I just had in mind to teach right where I was at home.  When I said yes to the LORD to do his work, I thought I was saying yes to be a teacher and maybe even the wife of a preacher.  Yes, I wanted to boldly proclaim the word of God, be a helpmeet to my husband, a loving mother to our children and see thousands of people respond in faith to the LORD’s teaching and examples.  Well, it didn’t take long to find out that the ministry even in the comfortable old USA is much different from what I had in mind.  I have always loved to teach, but teaching a group of people is a very small portion of what happens during any week.

I remember when my husband and I first married, his maternal aunt counseled us to get a hobby to make our days more interesting.  We both laughed because we knew our plan was not just to teach two or three times a week but to serve and bear fruit as well.  That would take time.  We knew the LORD’s work was so much more.

It’s hard, but little did we know how hard.

Allow me to tell you a few things we have learned over the years of what the ministry really is like.  If you are contemplating a life of serving Jesus then you should take time to read this list and see if you are gifted and wired to represent Him.  These are things nobody told us.

No one told us that we would visit three children, the youngest a 6-year-old boy, whose father had just died of cancer and try to help them find some kind of comfort—maybe even a family who was willing to take them for their own.  And then the next month the family called again to say the children’s mother died of cancer too–both from living under an asbestos roof.

No one told us that people would appear to love us and our children but would turn to despise us because we might have a conscience against what they were asking us to do.

No one told us that church people are mostly loving, but there may be a pocket of cronies in every congregation that are mean as snakes.  The LORD still expects us to love those people and bear with their weaknesses.

No one told us what it would be like to name a baby in another country one day.

No one told me what it would be like to teach a ladies’ group in a third world country where meeting halls were often overcrowded and dark and dirty.

No one told us about having to beg a customs agent to let a child’s chemistry set into the country so our son could continue his home schooling.  We had paid for the materials and for the shipping, but were expected to pay more than 300% that much again for tax when it arrived.

Nobody told us that we might wait for 3 months to get a letter from home, and maybe twice that long before a check could be cashed to buy our food.  No one told us that poor church members would borrow funds to buy our groceries until our check came in.

No one told us what it would be like to be in the room of a person who is dying and looking to you for comfort and words of peace.  Nobody told us how shocking and hard it would be to witness a medical assistant plunge a huge syringe into a struggling heart through the lungs and then pull out the plunger to expel the air.

No one told us about the endless phone calls (night and day), visits and emails to try to comfort an abused wife or child of the mentally unstable mate.

No one told us how the work would affect our family.  No one told us that when people spoke ill of us it would hurt our children twice as much as it hurt us.  Nor did anyone tell us that our children would always have unrealistic expectations set on them by others simply because their dad was a Bible class teacher.

No one told us how hard it would be to visit a couple that we love who just delivered a stillborn child—or to help dig a shallow grave on the beach for a child who died of a contagious disease and therefore could not be buried in the public cemetery.

No one told us what it would be like to be sick with food poisoning in a foreign nation and try to teach with an interpreter through that sickness.

No one told us how hard it would be to see friends with whom we went to college or church services become a statistic of Christians who didn’t make it.

No one told us how it would feel to hear of 1,000 needs and only be able to help a few.

No one told us what it would feel like to be robbed while on a work trip in a third world country.

No one told me or my husband that our best work would not be done from a pulpit, but from the trenches—having hard conversations with people who needed someone to be honest with them.

No one told us of the heart wrenching conversations we would have with so many couples who were on the brink of divorce—with one partner looking to us to help keep it together, while the other only wanted out.

Nobody ever warned us that there would be loving couples who had no right to be married to each other.

No one told us how hard it could be to deal with suicide, how hard it would be to help a family that is destroyed, broken and angry all at once.

No one told us how hard it would be to know the words to say to comfort shattered people when we were the first on the scene after tragedy struck.

No one told us of the joy we would receive when we would go to the hospital to meet new babies that were born to families we loved.

No one told my husband or me of the countless hours of study it would take to be an effective teacher.

No one told us how much the churches would love and embrace our family and meet our every need.

There has been so much we didn’t know…we couldn’t know.

I am so grateful to be one of God’s children—one who is ready and willing to do whatever the LORD presents to us—even if it is hard.

If you are considering marrying a preacher or Christian leader, I would encourage you to count the cost and then remember Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  13. But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith isalso vain.  15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  16. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  17. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

I have had many people ask me, “What is it that you do during the week?”

Well, come spend a week with us and we will be glad to show you.

–Beth Johnson

Women’s Studies

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson