Today, I read the story of Joseph and the Potiphar’s wife (for some reason, this story has been on my mind the past few days). Joseph had been sold by his brothers into slavery and Potiphar bought him and had him living in his home. Potiphar noticed that God was with Joseph and caused him to prosper at everything he did; therefore, Potiphar made Joseph in charge of his property, administrative affairs, and his household.
Potiphar’s wife also noticed Joseph and tried to seduce him, but he refused, saying that he wasn’t going to sin against God. She continued her attempts to seduce Joseph day after day and he continued to refuse; he even tried to avoid her! One day, when no one else was around, Potiphar’s wife came on to him again and grabbed him by his cloak; Joseph ran away from her, leaving his garment in her hands. Since she couldn’t get what she wanted, she lied and told everyone (including her husband) that Joseph tried to rape her. When Potiphar heard the news, he became furious and had Joseph thrown in prison.
It’s interesting how when you’re determined to do the right thing, there’s someone who wants to try to get you to do the wrong thing. Potiphar’s wife was only focused on her own desires but perhaps she wanted Joseph to slip up so she could “prove” that he didn’t have a good character after all. If someone has ill intentions and you refuse to participate in their schemes, they may get angry and plot revenge because they can’t use you/have their way with you. Perhaps Potiphar’s wife was jealous of Joseph’s character and integrity because she didn’t have those qualities. Joseph was more faithful to God than Potiphar’s wife to her own husband. I find it admirable that he appreciated how God gave him favor in Potiphar’s home and Joseph didn’t want to do anything to taint that.
When Potiphar’s wife couldn’t have her way with him, she decided to punish him. Her true personality is revealed in Genesis 39:14 when she tells the men of the house how her husband “…brought in an Hebrew into our home to make a fool out of us…” It sounded like she was blaming Potiphar, but not to his face. Then of course when she talked to him face-to-face, she said, “That Hebrew slave that you brought into our home tried to rape me!” (Genesis 39:17).
Someone can falsely accuse you of the worst thing and unfortunately, others may believe him/her, despite witnessing how you have always acted with integrity. How could Potiphar believe his wife’s accusation after he placed Joseph in charge of everything in his home? He trusted Joseph enough to give him authority over all his affairs. Although Potiphar could see that the Lord was with Joseph and caused him to be successful, perhaps Potiphar was blind to his wife’s true character.
It seemed like doing the right thing had a price—Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife’s advances, tried to avoid her, and even ran from her, and yet he was still thrown in prison. However, making the wrong decisions does have its consequences. If Joseph had’ve willingly slept with Potiphar’s wife, she could’ve gotten pregnant; Potiphar could’ve been furious enough to kill him, which would have cut his future short. Potiphar’s wife could’ve still made up a lie on Joseph, especially if he would’ve tried to end the affair. Worst of all, he would’ve sinned against God, and perhaps he would’ve lost his favor and had to face God’s wrath.
But despite the serious accusation against Joseph that was designed to cause major damage, God worked it out for his good. Joseph became the ruler of Egypt and ended up helping his brothers during the famine, the ones who were the reason he was sold into slavery in the first place. Joseph was able to forgive his brothers and help them once he saw that they had changed. Ugly circumstances led to a beautiful ending. In his different trials, he was always placed in charge of others and he never used his position as a leader to take advantage of others.
I pray that if you’re in a situation where someone falsely accuses you, may God come to your defense and use that situation to your advantage. May He give you strength, comfort, and courage during that ordeal. Don’t let your circumstances stop you from doing the right thing in everything you do.