Most Difficult Word in any Language

A young boy was given definite instruction by his mother not to go in swimming in a nearby pond.boylookingoverwater

Shortly afterward, he was to pass the pond en-route to the ball park.

He took along with him his bathing suit, just in case he was tempted!

This was making it quite easy to yield and disobey.

How different it was with an aged southern man, who said, “When I pass a watermelon patch, I can’t keep my mouth from watering, but I can run!1

In Genesis, chapter 39, we read the story of Joseph being tempted by the wife of Potiphar.

Verse 12 reveals, “She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled outside.”

Clarence Edward Macartney wrote, “What held him back from transgression was not the sense of ingratitude toward his master, although he was conscious of that; nor was it the fear of Potiphar, nor the reflection that he might possibly spoil his career in Egypt; nor was it disgust with and scorn for the temptress.

It was the fear of God, and the dread to do that which was wicked.

Joseph won his battle because he was able to pronounce the most difficult word in any language, Hebrew, Egyptian, or English, ‘No.’”2

"A man who knew how to say “No”

General Grant, speaking of his faithful chief of staff, General John Rawlins, said of him that he was a man who knew how to say “No” so emphatically to a request which he thought should not be granted, that the person he was addressing would understand at once there was no use of pressing the matter.

The best defense and protection against temptation is to have one courageous, single, decisive, ringing, and final “No.”3

Copyright © 2015 D & L Publications, All rights reserved.


  1. Walter B. Knight, Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1956, p. 674.
  2. Clarence Edward Macartney, Sermons On Old Testament Heroes, Abingdon – Cokesbury Press, New York and Nashville, Copyright 1935, p. 65.
  3. Ibid, p. 202.