Delivered But Disgraced

It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.
–Ezekiel 36:22

Picture in your mind some issue with which you are wrestling, some part of your life you are concerned about right now. The question is, can you trust God to meet this need?

In the midst of a famine, Abraham came to the conclusion that God could not be trusted to take care of him. He felt like he was on his own, so he made a terrible decision to go down to Egypt. And there he faced disaster–because of his own selfish scheme, his wife ended up in Pharaoh’s harem. But even though Abraham had abandoned his wife, God had not. Genesis 12:17 says, “The Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” We do not know what the nature of these plagues was, but apparently it was something that kept Pharaoh from being able to engage in sexual intercourse with Sarah.

God’s reason for intervention was not just for Sarah’s benefit or Abraham’s benefit; it was for the reputation of God. In Ezekiel 36:22, God said, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.” When your disobedience leads you into a desperate problem, God may or may not deliver you out of that problem. But if He does, it is not for your sake; it is for His reputation’s sake. You see, if Sarah had had intercourse with Pharaoh, or if Abraham had been killed, that would have been the end of God’s promise to Abraham that still benefits you and me today. God was not about to let that happen, so He miraculously intervened.

God rescued Sarah, but that did not exempt Abraham from some severe consequences. We see that in Genesis 12:18-20: “Pharaoh called Abram and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, “She is my sister,” so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.’ Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away.” And Abraham returned to Canaan with his tail between his legs. He was disgraced.

Whenever we come to the conclusion that God will not take care of us, that we are on our own, our disbelief leads to disobedience, to disaster, and ultimately, whether God intervenes or not, to our own disgrace. Do you believe that the God who has brought you this far in life is capable of taking care of your future? Or are you trusting in yourself instead?

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When The Godly Go South” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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