The Proposition: Potiphar’s Wife

by Adrianne Schwanke

None of us are immune. None of us expect to fall. But there’s the precipice. Imagine you’re married to a really important man—so very important that he seems too busy for you. (Because someone must be crazy busy in order to feel important, right?) Well, whether he’s actually important or just really “busy,” you still feel a void.



And then—in walks some smok’n hot man who is now paid to be your personal housekeeper. He packs a broom, biceps, and a daily question: “Hey, can I help you around the house or maybe make you some lunch today?”

That’s pretty much where Potiphar’s wife found herself—BAM! Smack in-between a busy husband and a sudden distraction. She might as well have starred in the pilot episode of Desperate Housewives. Her story nestles inside the book of Genesis:

“So he [Potiphar] left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and … he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance” (Genesis 39:6.)

Potiphar (the husband) is apparently such a special, busy leader that he felt the need to completely delegate his home life to another man. Whether that’s a model worth repeating, we’ll save for the men to discuss, but for us, it is what it is. And Potiphar’s wife was stuck with one wildly confusing view—a godly Hebrew paid to oversee her inner sanctum, home.

I’m sorry, but “Hello?” If you were placed in a similar circumstance, surely a day would come where loneliness and opportunity would combust into t-e-m-p-t-a-t-i-o-n. If you were given the perfect set-up to sin, would you take it?

Not sure?

Me either.

So, let’s both take notes from a man who withstood:
“It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she [Potiphar’s wife] said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, … ‘How could I do this great evil and sin against God?’” (Genesis 39:7-9b).

When Joseph was presented with a clear invitation to swing Tiger’s club or set up a Jesse James sexting match, Joseph refused. Instead, he had a heart-to-heart conversation with his conscience. He wielded a mighty question: “How could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) When sin pulled, Joseph looked up to the God who saved him from the pit of abandomment. He looked up to the God who had given him a vision for his life that far surpassed the passing pleasure of sin.

And after considering God, Joseph FLED: “She [Potiphar’s wife] caught him by his garment saying, ‘Lie with me!’ And Joseph left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside…” (Genesis 39:12).

So, what is the shortest distance between loneliness and lust? One loitering glance.

What then is the shortest distance between temptation and faithfulness? A gaze fixed on God and feet ready to flee. Joseph did it. Jesus did it. (Jesus lifted His gaze above temptation to take His kingdom before God’s timing and instead He endured the palpable pain of the cross. He looked over and above loneliness, rejection,  and feelings of abandonment to the glory set before Him–a coming kingdom and the Father’s plan for reconciling sinners to Himself.) And the result?



Reclaimed femininity.

And now, because the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in those who believe, we can access this same perspective and power, too (Romans 8:11). We can look over our loneliness, sadness, anger, bitterness and up to the eyes that love, fill, and raise us from the dead areas in our life and marriage.

Ask God to give you a higher view of Christ today. He is the coming King of kings galloping from heaven with a sword in His mouth and a name written on His thigh—Faithful and True. He is the Resurrection and the Life that changes an unfaithful bride into a woman of purity and faithfulness.

We are not a slave to Satan’s solicited view of femininity—Playboy Bunnies hunting for men and putting them one by one into her basket whenever she feels the need for attention.

No, we serve a King who laid down His life to redeem us and our view of self.  So, let’s look into His eyes that purify our feminine wiles. Turn back to your husband and love only him, again and again.

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