“I also withheld you from sinning against Me” Genesis 20:6
As a youngster growing up and in my teens there were many temptations to sin, not that I recognised them as such at the time. There were things that others were doing that I wanted to do as well but there often seemed to be a limit as to how far I could go. It was more than just conscience. There were physical barriers such as opportunity, interruptions or distractions at key moments. There was also the risk of being caught doing what I knew to be wrong and in other cases the matter was simply not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. That is not to say that I did not indulge in sin. There is not one of the Ten Commandments that I did not disregard at some time if we use Jesus’ application of the commandments that He gives in the Sermon on the Mount.
Even so, as I look back on my life I am well aware that there was a hand limiting my indulgence in sin. At the time it caused me frustration and even anger but now as I read this verse I am so very grateful to God for the merciful and gracious resistance He gave to my lustful self-seeking passions. No doubt His resistance also flowed from praying parents but in this passage we find that it appears that no earthly person was praying for Abimelech. God took the initiative by making Abimelech, his wife and all his servants impotent. Then he spoke to Abimelech in a dream explaining the reason and the solution.
Perhaps as you are reading this article the Holy Spirit is bringing to mind occasions when He put something in the way so that you did not venture down a particular path of sin. As I look back I now wish that He had done so much more. Perhaps part of the answer as to why God has not always kept us from sin can be found in this account of Abimelech.
He was told to restore Sarah to Abraham but he was not forced to do so. However, the way he chose to respond would have a consequence. If he did not restore Sarah to Abraham he and his entire house would die. God had a plan for Sarah and Abraham and He would not be thwarted. If Abimelech did restore Sarah, Abraham would pray for him and he and his entire house would be healed.
We suffer consequences when we disregard God’s word or do not obey Him. God will perform His will with or without our cooperation – but it will be far better for us to join with Him and do as He asks. When we do, there will be a better outcome for our children, grandchildren and others we love.
Let us give a little time each day to thank God for the times He kept us from unwitting and witting sin.
Let us praise Him for His kindness and great grace toward us even before we believed.
Let us humble ourselves before Him and magnify the name of Jesus – because it is only by His shed blood that He is able to forgive and cleanse us, and still remain just.