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What Did You Intend?

What did you intend? What did you see, that you did this thing?

Sometimes we need to be confronted with these questions. It can be easy to make decisions without thinking all the way through the ramifications of our actions.

We find these questions in the account of Abraham (a man of God) and Abimelech (pagan king of Gerar). At first glance you may think that Abraham confronted Abimelech with these questions, but it was actually the other way around.

Abraham was sojourning through the land of Canaan and came to Gerar. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was beautiful, and so Abraham said that she was his sister. He was afraid that the men of Gerar may kill him in order to take Sarah. As they were there, Abimelech noticed Sarah’s beauty and had her brought to his palace as he thought she was just Abraham’s sister. God appeared to Abimelech in a dream and revealed to him that Sarah was married and that he should not touch her or he would be punished. To his credit, Abimelech rose early that next morning to set things right. He called to Abraham and said, “What did you do to us?...You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” Then he asked the clinching question, “What did you intend?” He rightfully put the responsibility back on Abraham. What did he think would happen if he said Sarah was just his sister? What did he think would happen when Abimelech sent for Sarah? How was this going to end well?

Abraham answered honestly. He was afraid for his life and lied to try and save his life. Abraham had justified this course of action in his own mind because he thought there was no fear of God in the land of Gerar (Genesis 20:11). And since he thought no one feared God, it would best to lie so that they would not kill him on account of his wife Sarah.

Do you see the irony in this thought process and course of action? Because Abraham thought the men of Gerar did not fear God, Abraham acted as if he did not fear God. Instead of walking by faith and trusting that God would fulfill His promise to give Abraham a son through Sarah, he took matters into his own hands. Because he perceived that these men did not fear God, he acted like them as opposed to fearing God. In this account, the king of Gerar showed more fear of God than Abraham.

How often do we act like Abraham? How often do we look at a fallen world that rejects God and justify sinful actions? Too often we excuse our behavior by blaming those who do not fear God. At times we live like the world, or make sinful decisions because we are afraid of what unsaved people will do.

Yet, we are not called to live that way. Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Too often we live as if God is not in control. Like Abraham, we live as those who do not fear God. We are called to walk in the light. May we evaluate our decisions this week in the fear of God rather than in the fear of man.

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