November 30th, 2021 – Very Early Tuesday Morning
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, ‘Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.’ Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, ‘Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless? Did he not himself say to me, “She is my sister”? And she herself said, “He is my brother.” In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.’ Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.'” ~Genesis 20:3-7
Oh, how awesome and amazing is the LORD God! Do you see how merciful and gracious He is? Do you see how patient and kind He is? There is no one like Him, executing righteousness and justice through every generation, yet extending goodness and compassion to those who are humble before Him.
Why such an outburst to start this devotional off? Look again at the passage above… Notice how God comes to Abimelech and confronts him in regards to his taking of Sarah: First, He comes in a dream and converses with Abimelech – not as a dictator who judges with no room for appeal or mercy, but as the LORD who shows mercy forever and ever. He let Abimelech respond and give a defense of his actions, and He allowed Abimelech the opportunity to repent from his intended course of action. Second, the LORD protected Abimelech from sin by preventing him from being able to consummate a relationship with Sarah. What an intervention! Abimelech was indeed blameless in his actions (as testified to by himself and by the LORD), but they would have ended in sin had they been allowed to continue to their desired end. God mercifully intervened in order to spare Abimelech from the heartache of unintentional and reprehensible sin (adultery).
Thirdly, see how just and righteous God is?! He confronts Abimelech on the verge of sin in order to declare to him what he will be doing if he continues on his way. The LORD didn’t sugar-coat the truth, but laid it out straight before Abimelech. Then, the LORD justly allows righteous Abimelech to make things right, while warning him of the consequences if he does not. Finally, think of how this incident must have affected these two men – Abraham and Abimelech – as they thought back to how the LORD intervened and showed them both great mercy and grace in spite of their foolishness and ignorance: Abraham, in refusing to be 100% truthful and in not trusting the LORD for his own safety; and Abimelech, in the pursuit of his own desires (in seeking another wife).
What can we glean from this passage? First, let us pursue the right perspective (with our eyes on Jesus and our hearts tender to the Spirit of God) so that we do not fall into the same traps that Abraham and Abimelech did. Second, let us be ever sensitive to the LORD (through His Word, prayer, fellowship, and through walking in the Spirit) so that we are immediately convicted, corrected, and convinced by Him when He stops us in our tracks on the road to sin. Finally, let us praise the LORD and give Him constant thanksgiving for His mercy, grace, justice, and love. He is so good, so merciful, and so worthy of all praise, honor, and glory – in and through and by us and everyone else!
Thank You, Father, for how gentle and persistent You are with us! Thank you for Your perfect love and justice! Keep us close to You and give us tender hearts.