Within the past four days, I have come across the same message in different biblical books and now it turns up in the daily reading, so it bears mentioning at least, and for me, to be taken to heart.
Sunday's sermon was from Jonah, last night's bible study was in Joel and this morning we see the same theme in action in Gen 20....
Jonah 4:2 ..."I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, A God who relents from sending calamity"
Joel 2:13 "Rend your heart not your garments, Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate slow to anger and abounding in love, for he relents from sending calamity"
Here in Gen 20 we see this in action. God speaks to Abimelech the heathen king, God knows he took Sarah in good conscience and God steps in and warns Abimelech to prevent him from sinning against him, (the God he does not honor) and bringing calamity onto his family.
God sent Jonah to warn the people of Ninevah, the calamity that was surely heading their way, and they repented, this time round at least. They Repented of their evil and violent ways and God had compassion on them. Jonah 2:10
Joel is sent to God's own people encouraging them to "Return to the Lord your God"
Here Abimelech makes Restitution to the person who was wronged in the situation, Sarah. Imagine introducing yourself as the spinster sister instead of being the wife of Abraham. She was already bearing the brunt of being infertile, is still dealing with the whole Hagar drama (Gen 16) and this was being compounded by her husband by referring to her as his sister. Abimlech gives Sarah via Abraham 1000 shekles of silver V16 "This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated".
What was the offense being spoken off? Abimelech didn't touch her.
Here is the more literal translation from the Hebrew from Everett Fox "it (the money) shall serve you as a covering for the eyes for all who are with you, and with everyone, that you have been decided for." The offense was her implied spinsterhood afterall!
Even so, it takes a prayer from Abraham to heal Abimelech family from infertility and with them Sarah is also healed.. but that's tomorrows story :)
The three elements of heeding God warning from sending claminity into our lives that I see are
Repenting from the wrong behaviour, Returning to God with our heart, making Resistution where necessary. He will do whatever it takes to get our attention and save us from ourselves.
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