Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

I’m reading Genesis 39 right now. I’m not one of those that treat reading the Bible as some kind of task to complete in a year. Someone gave me the advice that the Bible is a love letter from God and it’s worth taking the time to soak in each chapter.

Genesis 39 is especially interesting.

Joseph found favor in God’s eyes. If you’ll recall (or not), Joseph was cast into a well by his jealous brothers. As a favored servant of Potiphar, an official in Pharaoh’s court and the captain of the guard, Joseph is ripe for persecution.

“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ (vs. 6a-7)”

Joseph was a smart man and refused. He refused every invitation from Potiphar’s wife. But Genesis 39:11-15 becomes dangerous for Joseph. Potiphar’s wife is more insistent, and Joseph ran from her, but not without leaving his cloak behind. How can we apply to this to our lives?

Television shows with crime dramas are my favorite shows to watch. In every situation like Genesis 39, the secret affair becomes a powerful hold on the other person. For Joseph, it was not only dangerous for him to give in to Potiphar’s wife, but a sin against God. A Bible Study I participated in focused on Joseph running from sin, and this is important.

Later verses in Genesis 39 will show the deception that led to Joseph’s imprisonment and how God provided a way out.

I think of people out there who give in to the powerful hold of sin in their lives. Perhaps you are living with someone else out of wedlock; in a same-sex relationship and now you have children you’ve adopted, too; or had an affair that is over, but you never told your spouse? Is that you?

Leah is a friend of mine who was giving in to the temptation with her fiance/boyfriend and sleeping with him unbeknownst to her family members. She would confide in me how difficult it was to stay “pure.”

People talk about staying “pure” as if that is strictly reserved for teenage virgins. I believe people of all walks of life, even if they have had sex before, should look at being “pure” in a different light.

Leah’s mom was a divorcee and had sex with her now husband before the wedding. She still recalls what her mom said about how it’s different now that she was married before. Leah kept recalling that with every relationship she had with other men. Without God in her life for accountability, Leah kept making the same mistake throughout her life before meeting her now husband.

My advice to her was to talk to her boyfriend and re-establish a new relationship with the Lord by working at trying not to give in to temptation. She liked this idea and it made them stronger. Of course, she would be ashamed when they failed on occasion, but they continued to try to honor God all the way to when the vows were spoken.

We need to run from sin and ask someone close to us who understands our relationship with God to hold us to loving accountability.

It’s never too late to start over. 

Read Genesis 39.