Parents, teachers, and coaches all stress to their young charges over and over that doing the right thing will always bring you benefits. Wouldn’t you agree? Of course you would. You’ve taught that philosophy many times. Virtue always brings rewards.
Except when it doesn’t. Sometimes you do the right thing and lose a friend. Get mocked on social media. Get fired. Joseph, the patriarch Jacob’s 11th son, is a hero to all believers in overcoming sexual temptation. The wealthy Egyptian cougar in whose house Joseph was a servant came on to him strongly. When he backed away, she retaliated by accusing him of rape. “Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined” (Genesis 39:20). What did virtue get Joseph? Punishment!
But God’s eyes were on him, and his prison cell became the platform for an amazing rise to the very top of Egypt’s government. God used Joseph and his special gifts to spare both his family and the Egyptian nation from famine. God also realized that he needed to get Jacob’s family out of the corrupting land of Canaan, and Egypt became protective custody for the growing Israelite family/nation.
Virtue does indeed pay off, but sometimes it will cost you in the short run. Is Satan working on you right now to sell out your principles? cheat to get ahead? lie to your spouse? Obedience to God’s will is always good all the time.
Ahem. Do you believe that?