A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Kept from Sinning  (Genesis 20:6)

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. And Abimelech the
king of Gerar sent and took Sarah...Abimelech said, Lord, will You also
kill a righteous nation? Did he not say to me, She is my sister? And
God said to him, Yes, I know that you did this in the sincerity of your
heart. For I also witheld you from sinning against Me. Therefore I did
not allow you to touch her. (~Gen20:1-7)

What is the one area of life that is on one hand, the most beautiful
aspect of God's creation, and on the other, the source of all the
world's evil?  Sex.

"Three things are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I do not
know...the way of a man with a maiden." (Pr30:18-19) An entire book is
devoted to... "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your
love is better than wine" (SS1:2) And God created it this way,
"Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled..." (Heb13:4)

On the other, it is something -all- of society stumbles over. Comedians
make lude jokes about it, sitcoms liberalize it, the entire music
industry 'performs' it on stage (even "christians"), fashion says you
must be alluring to be happy and fulfilled, Cindy Margolis promotes it
as -the- way to have a party, and Benny Hill and Saturday Night Live
drag it down into the gutter with every lude expression they can get
away with in public.

But that's not all... world -religion- promotes it, too. The major 
religious holidays are based on fertility goddesses and rites, along
with the unbridled sex that goes along with it. Easter has its
reproductively active "bunny" and "egg", symbols of fertility. At
X-mass time it's things like the mistletoe where people are to
kiss...whether they are married to each other or not. Most of the 
female goddesses had some sort of connection to fertility and sexual 
liberties. It had even crept into Israel with the temple prostitutes. 
(Hos4:14, 1Sam2:22, etc.)

What is the one theme that repeats over and over as the father says,
"My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law
of your mother"? (Pr1:8) It is warnings about the "strange woman"
(Pr2:16, 5:3, etc), and  "rejoice with the wife of your youth" (Pr5:18)

But it's really 'hard', sometimes, isn't it! To see the temptation
inviting. How does a Christian resist? Is the Believer ABLE TO resist
every time, just by "determining" that he is going to be pure?
Sometimes those hormones build up and simply scream out!  Is the
Believer CAPABLE OF being totally pure?  I would submit to you that he
is not. If we could not save ourselves "by works" (Eph2:9) in the first
place, what makes us think -WE- can 'always' be perfect by our own
efforts?

"No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able,
but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may 
be able to bear it." (1Cor10:13)

This verse has several applications. Part of it has to do with 
persecution. But it also applies to daily living. We are not capable in 
these bodies of "corruption" (1Cor15:53) of being perfect. Paul
struggles with it in Romans ch7. He concludes that the resolution of
the problem is "Jesus Christ". (vs25) Even though we are corrupt, we 
can have "victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". (1Cor15:57) And God 
is "faithful". If He saved us, He can also keep us...if we are willing 
to be kept.

I know of a person who used to claim to be a "Christian" who told of in
his younger days, trying to find some "action", and God totally messed
up his circumstances. All the "working girls" were 'gone' when he got
there.  I can remember in my younger years, on a couple of occasions if
I even thought about pursuing something, all the doors seemed to close
in my face. And on the other hand, there were some situations that had 
opened up to me, had I taken advantage of them, but my naivete 
prevented me from seeing that they were "opportunities", until they 
were gone.

It's like Hosea's "Gomer", running off pursuing her lovers, but God
"[hedged]" her way with thorns and "[walled] up her wall, that she
[could] not find her paths" (Hos2:6)

In my case, I was a young man who loved the Lord, but had moments of 
weakness. (Even David had his moments. So I guess I'm in good company!) 
The Lord preserved me, either by closing doors when I was out looking, 
or by making me totally obliviously blind to the opportunities that
presented themselves.

And with Abraham we see God's specific explanation of the process. In a
state of weakness (we always see Abraham as a "tower" of strength, but 
he was frail, just as we are), fearing the potentiality that an enemy 
might kill him for his beautiful wife, devises a 'scheme' for
self-preservation. Trouble is, the plan backfires, and Sarah is taken,
anyway, as though to be given to the king.

Abimelech, in the culture of the day, acts in "innocence", believing
Sarah to be "available". Abimelech is not the guilty party.  Abraham
is. In that culture, Sarah was being the obedient, submissive wife,
doing as she was told. (1Pt3:5-6) The fault lay on Abraham.

But God knows Abraham's frailty. He knows that Abraham's faith is not 
fully developed yet. In this case, the temptation/test is seemingly 
beyond Abraham's "ability". (1Cor10:13) So God provides the "escape" by
dealing with Abimelech. God protects Abraham, and communicates with
Abimelech with a warning. And God kept Abimelech from "touching" Sarah.
(Gen20:6)

God "witheld" Abimelech from sinning against God. If we are trusting in
the "victory" that is only available through Jesus Christ (1Cor15:57),
if we have "yielded ourselves to God" (Rom6:13), God oversees our 
lives. He knows that we are yet "dust". (Ps103:14) Just as He put 
limits on satan regarding Job, He does the same for us. He provides 
"escapes" for us. He hedges our way with thorns and walls, and closes
doors. He witholds us from sinning. He also witholds others, when
needed, from luring us.

But it begins with us "yielding" ourselves to God. (Rom6:11-14 -look it
up and read it) "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not take
thought beforehand for the lusts of the flesh." (Rom13:14)

However, if you care nothing about the Lord, even though you claim to
be a "Christian", don't expect victory. This victory does not come from
within ourselves, and our own resolutions. If we trust in our-SELVES,
we will fail. We must "purpose" in our hearts to not be "defiled" with
the world. (Dan1:8) When we do so, "God" will give "kindness" in
resolving the conflicts. (vs9)

"With what shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according 
to Your Word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander 
from Your Commandments. I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I 
might not sin against You." (Ps119:9-11)

Amen!
[Return] to Genesis study series