Genesis 20:1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
How sovereign is God? This is a very hard question. Theologians have wrestled with understanding God’s power and man’s free choice to do and NOT do things for thousands of years.
I want you to notice two verses in this text in verse four Abimelech had not had any sexual contact with Sarah—he states that he was innocent. In and of his own choosing he has yet to approach Sarah about a physical relationship. Why—look at verse 6.
Why—because God had kept Abimelech from sinning against Himself in and through Sarah. God, in a dream, says to Him, “I know you haven’t sinned against her it was I who kept you from sinning.” The sovereign God kept him from sinning—now someone wants to ask—could he have sinned against her? No. The text says God kept him from sinning. God had decided that Sarah was to remain pure in her marriage to Abraham. Therefore, He intervened in a unique and powerful way to protect Sarah from Abimelech’s polluting contact.
This is what I want God to do in my life. I want him to rule so powerfully in my life that He keeps me from sinning. I don’t want to sin. And I don’t value freedom so much that I want Him to leave me a choice to sin. I don’t want the choice to reject God. I don’t want the choice to walk about from my faith. I don’t anything to separate me from the love of God.
On the contrary, I want God to take away choices to sin. I need Him to silently, invisibly, powerfully, sovereignly rule in my life in such a way that He is removing opportunities, temptations, thoughts, and or choices to sin.
Isn’t this how the Lord taught the disciples to pray?
“Lord, rule in my life in such a powerful way that you guide me away from temptations and deliver me from sinful influences” (ref. Matt 6.13).
I want to spend more time praying like this--how about you?