Kept from Sinning

And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. (Genesis 20:6)

God spoke to the pagan ruler Abimelech in a dream, telling him to stay away from the prominent, prestigious woman that came to his city of Gerar. The woman was named Sarah, the wife of Abraham the man of God and the man of God’s covenant.

The whole situation came about because Abraham didn’t act like a man of God and a man of God’s covenant. Coming to Gerar, Abraham failed to trust God as he should have and instead trusted in his lies and deceptions. Abraham was afraid that the king of Gerar would kill him and take Sarah because she was an obviously wealthy and prestigious woman. So, Abraham told Sarah to lie, saying she was his sister instead of his wife. Sarah lied and Abimelech spared Abraham’s life but planned on taking Sarah into his harem.

God then interrupted this mess with a frightful dream as Abimelech slept. God warned Abimelech and told him that Sarah was actually the wife of Abraham and not merely a sister. God said He would kill Abimelech if he did not return Sarah to Abraham. In his dream, Abimelech protested to God, pointing out that he only did this because he thought Sarah was unmarried.

God agreed and said that Abimelech had done this in the integrity of his heart. What is more, God said that He withheld Abimelech from sinning against the Lord.

Aren’t you grateful for the times God has withheld you from sinning against Him?

This doesn’t mean that God withholds His people from temptation. God may not lead us into temptation, but He allows temptation to come our way.

This doesn’t mean that God will never allow situations where it may be easy to sin. Abimelech found it easy to bring Sarah into his palace, but God confronted him before he could treat Sarah as his wife.

It does mean exactly what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says to God’s people: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

It also means that there may be sometimes when God simply blocks the way of the person who intends to sin. That person doesn’t deserve such a gracious gift from God, but God is free to show that grace when it pleases Him.

Maybe you can remember some occasion when you intended to sin, even hoped to sin, and God blocked your way. Never presume that God will do this, but thank Him for when He does, and look to Him for the grace to hate sin more and more.

Click here for David’s commentary on Genesis 20

Click Here for Daily Devotionals from David

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