David and Joseph are key characters from the Old Testament of the Bible. 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 to hinder 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 lustful 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.
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.
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.