There is a lot of confusion about God’s grace and mercy. Sometimes I wonder how many of us actually get it right. See, there are two ways we tend to go. We either “underestimate” it (for lack of a better word) and believe it couldn’t possibly cover all that God says it covers. Or we “overestimate” it and start to assume that everything we do is right and okay, because God will take care of everything.
Personally, I’ve fallen into both of those camps. Sometimes even in the same day. Okay, the same hour. Okay, the same five minutes. Does anybody out there want to say an “Amen” of agreement?
I was cruising along in Genesis 20 when I came to this verse, and it sort of stood out to me as another aspect of God’s grace and mercy. Abraham and Sarah have been wandering around. When they got to Gerar, he told everyone his wife was his sister. Well, King Abimelech caught sight of her and decided he had to have her, so he sent and had her brought to him. Now, is anyone besides me wondering what her husband was doing while she was being spirited away? Hm.
At any rate, Abimelech has a dream telling him that Sarah is married, and he has a little dialogue with God about how he didn’t know since Abraham lied and all.
Genesis 20:6 (GW)–“Yes, I know that you did this with a clear conscience,” God said to him in the dream. “In fact, I kept you from sinning against me. That’s why I didn’t let you touch her…”
There’s something new to think about. Had Abimelech “touched” Sarah, whose fault would it have been. Wouldn’t he have been technically innocent? After all, he was told Abraham and Sarah were siblings.
But God didn’t even give King A the opportunity to even stumble into a hint of wrongdoing. He stopped the king from ever even touching Sarah. Yes, I’m certain it was in large part to protect the line he was bringing through Abraham, since there could be no question as to who fathered any of her offspring. But in the process, Abimelech found himself protected by God as well. After all, God doesn’t lie. And God didn’t say, “I kept you from touching her to protect what will one day be Israel.” He said, “I kept you from touching her to protect your conscience.” At least in some part, he was looking out for the king too.
How many situations has God just straight up kept me out of, I wonder? How many times has he kept me from going here or from talking to this person or from receiving that communication? All to protect my conscience? To protect me?
So, what’s your take on the story? And where do you think Abraham was when his wife was carted off to the castle?