Usually when someone shares their favorite Bible stories, they don’t involve sex, right? It’s stuff like David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, the Prodigal Son, or Jesus’ resurrection. And I definitely have that kind. But I considered my favorite stories from the Bible that actually involve sex in some way and came up with seven I particularly appreciate. Here are the first four.
1. Adam and Eve. One of my favorite Bible-themed cartoons is this one:
Although I’d like to think that Eve was also excited. Can you imagine how cool it must have been to have God pick your spouse for you? He’s got good taste, and He knows what you like.
Adam and Eve were set apart for one another and discovered sexuality together, with no interference from prior sexual history or erroneous messages or third parties (what third parties?!) trying to butt into their relationship. Ideally, we enter marriage with the same clean slate. And if we didn’t, I believe God can wipe it clean (Psalm 103:12; 1 John 1:9).
Perhaps more of us should treat our marriage bedroom like the Garden of Eden — keeping it a safe, private, flourishing place — where we are set apart for one another and blessed by God.
2. Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife. Young Joseph is sold into slavery, taken to Egypt, and purchased to be a slave in Potiphar’s house. Over time, he gains his owner’s trust and thus authority over the household. Then Potiphar’s wife notices that Joseph is a hunka-hunka man (“well-built and handsome,” Genesis 39:6), so she slaps on her bedroom face, curls her fingers around in a come-here-baby gesture, and asks him to sleep with her. What does Joseph do? He says no. Repeatedly. And then runs.
One reason I love this story is I grew up in a Christian community that pretty much taught us teens “don’t” when it came to sex. That was about it, except that there was an underlying message that it was really more up to us gals to keep the barriers up because teenage boys were hopelessly lusting all the time and they couldn’t really be blamed for all that testosterone and whatcha-gonna-do? and all that. But here’s a young man who understood the importance of not engaging in adultery, of saving sex for marriage.
When he finally married Asenath, I like to think she was both surprised and pleased he’d saved himself for his wife. So when single people ask those two important questions: Can one really wait for marriage? Is it worth it? The answer’s yes, and here’s Joseph to prove it.
3. Hannah and Elkanah. Hannah is one of the two wives of Elkanah. (It’s a little hard for me to imagine being in her place, since sharing a husband sounds like a horrible idea. But we should remember the culture they lived in.) Her husband clearly loves her: “But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5). He tries to console her in her infertility, reminding her of their love (v.8).
When they go to the temple and the priest Eli observes Hannah praying fervently for a child, He gives her a blessing that God will grant her desire. And this part is not lost on me at all: “Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her” (v. 19). How many married couples think worshiping God would be logically followed by going home and making love? Well, it should!
We needn’t feel any disconnect between worshiping God and expressing intimate love with our spouse. God designed both and desires both. Hannah and Elkanah worshiped, went home, made love, and — with God’s hand — finally conceived a son.
4. David and Bathsheba (not that first story!). Bathsheba’s first child, born of an adulterous relationship, died. That’s a nightmare for parents. I cannot fathom the heartbreak involved in losing a child.
However, David comforts his wife Bathsheba in an unusual way. Following their son’s death, the Bible says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her” (2 Samuel 12:24a). She conceived a second son, Solomon. But it seems that David’s comfort of his wife also involved that sexual intimacy together.
I’ve written before about the healing power of one-fleshness in a marriage. There is closeness and connection and comfort in physical intimacy between spouses. I love how this couple’s story of a second chance and heart healing involves the marriage bed as well — a bed now blessed by God Himself.
So that’s four stories that have some takeaways regarding God’s plan for sexual intimacy. Be sure to check back on Thursday, when I’ll have three more great Bible stories (that actually involve sex).
Do you have a favorite Bible story? Does it include any lessons for you regarding marriage or sexuality?