What keeps us under the umbrella of divine protection? A healthy fear of God and an active faith. In Genesis 20, God’s man of faith walks in disbelief while a pagan king exhibits a fear of God, faith in God’s words, and immediate obedience. Check out the story of Abraham and Abimelech.
As Abraham travels through Canaan, he passes Sarah off as his sister. So much for trusting God, right? He fears the nobles will kill him and take her because of her beauty. She is in her eighties. Eighties! Good genes or exceptional skin care products?
In this scene, Abraham pitches his tent near the city of Gerar. Philistine territory. Sure enough the king, Abimelech, takes Sarah into his palace. Here’s what happens next, “But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, ‘You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.’” Genesis 20:3 NIV)
The fact that God appears to Abimelech at all blows me away. Abimelech declares his innocence based on Abraham’s claim that Sarah is his sister. He appeals to God’s justness (Note, he has a sense of God’s character.) in that his conscience was clear; he and his nation were innocent.
Look at God’s response, “Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die.’”
Did you catch that? I have kept you from sinning. Wow.
The next morning, Abimelech makes things right. Abraham had assumed there was no fear of God in that place. He was wrong. God personally protected Abimelech (and Sarah) from sin. God knew Abimelech’s heart. Yet had Abimelech not obeyed, he and his people would have faced severe consequences.
When our children were younger, we read the Harry Potter books together. (I know, controversial, but that’s for another blog.) As we read we discussed the story. They would get mad when I pointed out Harry’s poor choices—usually a wrong choice for a “right” reason. When I showed more appropriate options available to Harry, I always heard, “But Mom!”
Sin is sin, and rarely is the wrong choice the right one unless you are living during the Holocaust and are lying to hide Jews from the Nazis and certain death.
First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
We all face conflicts and choices. Abraham was torn between a will to survive and trusting God for his protection. Abimelech saw an attractive woman and chose her for himself. Harry Potter chose between the wrong thing on his own or the right thing with adult help.(The right choices would have made for a boring story, but feel free to teach on it!)
Let’s train ourselves and our children to:
- Believe God when He says something is sin
- Stay under God’s protection
- Take His way of escape
Get under the umbrella.
Movies, books, and TV shows provide great opportunities to discuss characters decisions. Would you have made the same choices? Why?
Authors love to take something a character would never do and put them in a situation where they are forced to do just that. Another tactic is to force a hero to choose between two core values. How does our faith in God affect our decisions when we are faced with a compromising situation?
Can you think of a time when God provided a way out and you took it?
Can you think of a time when God provided a way out and you didn’t take it?
What were the consequences of each choice?
What keeps us under the umbrella of divine protection? Click to tweet.
Abraham had assumed there was no fear of God in that place. He was wrong and God protected Abimelech from sin. Click to tweet.
Did you catch that? I have kept you from sinning. Wow. Click to tweet.