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Some Things are Meant to be Abandoned

October 28, 2012

Why do we fall into a pattern of committing the same sin over and over? It may be gossiping, sexual sin, pride, coveting, some type of addicition, or a number of other sins. After we realize we’ve fallen into the same trap we cry out to God and ask for forgiveness but next time the same temptation presents itself, we find ourselves repeating the sin. Once we realize what we’ve done we turn to self-loathing because we just can’t seem to rise above this sin. Why? What’s wrong?

We get a glimpse why from Abraham’s story in Genesis 12 and 20. We find in Genesis 12: 10-20, that when Abraham and Sarah traveled to Egypt to escape a famine, Abraham is worried that he will be killed because Pharaoh will find Sarah, his wife, to be so beautiful that he will want her for himself and possibly harm Abraham.  To head this off, he tells her to tell Pharaoh that she is his sister and not her husband.

Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” (Genesis 12:13)

How low can a man get? How selfish! ‘Let’s pretend that we aren’t married (Genesis 20:12 tells us that he was actually her half-brother) so that it will go well for me’. What about Sarah? Is this God’s plan? Hadn’t God just told Abraham that God would make a great nation from Abraham’s descendants? Wasn’t he just told by God that He would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who would curse Abraham?

God is faithful to His plan even if Abraham wasn’t. God struck Pharaoh’s house with great plagues, which led Pharaoh to confront Abraham, and eventually let both of them leave Egypt unharmed.

Gerar – used with permission from Logos license

Twenty-five years later we find Abraham falling into this same trap. After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, Abraham and Sarah travel to Gerar. Again, Abraham is afraid that the king of Gerar, Abimelech, will kill Abraham so that he can have Sarah as his wife. This leads Abraham to use the same lie he used in Egypt twenty-five years earlier. This time, God came to Abimelech in a dream and warned him not to sleep with Sarah or he would die. When Abimelech wakes up he immediately tells his servants what God told him and then confronts Abraham.

 …What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” Genesis 20:9

Abraham uses the same rationale he gave in Genesis 12. He told Abimelech that he thought ‘there was no fear of God in this place and they will kill me because of my wife’.  He goes on to reveal that this premeditated sin was actually concocted over twenty-five ago when they left his father’s home.

 …And it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, “he is my brother.” (Genesis 20: 13)

Abraham was afraid that Abimelech had no fear of God. How ironic. In his actions, it is Abraham that demonstrates that he has no fear of God. Fear of man, yes. Fear of God, no!

In Matthew Henry’s commentary on this portion of scripture he declares that “fear of man and faith in God cannot dwell together in the same heart.”

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25

Abraham failed to judge his sin and forsake it in Genesis 12. Because of this, he falls into the same trap later in his life.

It’s easy for us to look at Abraham and judge him for his pattern of sin; however, we do this too. We sin, we are deeply sorry, we ask for forgiveness but do we examine, judge, and then forsake it?  The Hebrew word for forsake means to abandon, leave, stop, and let it go.

If we find ourselves committing the same sin over and over, it’s time to stop and really examine why. What’s the root cause? Is it my lack of fear of God? Is it my lack of faith in His promises? Is it my selfish ambition? Is it my pride? We must ask God to examine our heart and show us what’s causing us to stumble time and time again. Once we feel satisfied that God has revealed the cause it’s time to repent and then turn. Leave, abandon, and let it go! Until we do this, the pattern will continue.

The most beautiful truth is that once we repent and abandon the sin, God provides mercy. Oh that is such good news!

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” Proverbs 28:13)

Go and sin no more!

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