Even if you don’t think so, God is there.

Today’s readings: Genesis 20:1-22:24; Luke 8:1-8:56.

Abimelech returns Sarah

Abimelech returns Sarah
Caspar, Luiken, 1712

Just a few quick thoughts tonight:

“I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'” (Gen: 20:11)

Boy, did God ever surprise Abraham.

Abraham decides it’s better to pimp out his wife than be killed, so the king can take her. Not exactly the kind of behavior we would except from one of the Patriarchs of the church, but alas in reality it is all to common — then and now.

So rather than trust that God had his back, Abraham tried to take matters into his own hands.

Luckily for Sarah, and Abimelech’s folks, God had other ideas:

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a married woman.” Now Abimelech had not approached her; so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I did this in the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; furthermore it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. (Gen: 20:3-6)

Good thing God was there after all. This is one of those Old Testament visits of the Holy Spirit that we often miss. And a place that is ignored  — or to be more charitable, misread — when some folks try to portray a vengeful Old Testament God vs. a grace-filled New Testament God.

What better example of grace than God taking actions to prevent sinning.

Now you will ask lots of questions perhaps, questions like, “Well, if God did it then, why not now?”

And that’s when it’s perhaps clearer to see God’s hand in actions in hindsight, rather than immediately.

I know that as I look back over my life, I am convinced that God’s providence was involved in decisions I made, or didn’t make, in actions I took or didn’t take, even when at the time I didn’t realize it.

Thank God!

Grace and peace.

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