Summary: God’s response to Integrity
Abraham, a man of Challenge, Faith and Promise
God’s response to Integrity
Reading: Genesis 28:1ff
Last time we looked at "God’s Response to Intercession," along with the call of our Lord to this fellowship to strong prayer. Abraham has now moved from Hebron, he has come into the country between Kadesh and Shur. The country was a rolling country as the name GERAR implies. A place where sometimes you could see for miles from the top of a hill, yet at other times when in the dips and the valleys between the hill, it was only possible to see up and down the vale, unless one made the effort to go to the top of the rise.
He has left the place where he has seen the awesome hand of God at work in dealing with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A place where one would have thought that having seen such a move of God, it would have caused you to realize that God meant business, so bringing a resultant change in behaviour. What we actually find is Abraham using a world mind technique, which has already failed him before hand. The use of gray areas, the things that we all too often consider not to be outright wrong, but possibly with a bit of lateral thinking possibly justify the stance. What Abraham says to Abimelech is true, Sarah is his sister, she is his half sister, same father different mother, but it is not the whole truth.
From Abimelech’s point of view, he thought he was doing a bit a courting of very attractive unattached lady. Because of Abraham’s fear of man, which on the basis of God’s dealings with him was irrational, Abimelech has a very shocking encounter with the Almighty. God comes to Abimelech in a dream; he was quite possibly having a very pleasant, enjoyable dream. He has no reason to suspect that he is about to breakout in a sweat because of what he is about to hear. God gets his attention, "Abimelech, your a dead man! You are about to be taken out because of your taking of another man’s wife." Here is a message from God that gets through, it is intended to get this man’s attention and it does. Ask yourself, if God said that to you, would you start to listen (?)
Notice though that Abimelech’s first concern is his people. He then summarizes the events that lead to this night encounter, and says; "In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands have I done this." God’s response to this demonstrates to me His concern for what we are made of, what makes us tick, what is our motivation the condition and position of the heart. God said; "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also with held you from sinning against Me;" Notice God is saying that it was the integrity of the man’s heart that had cause the restraining of God in Abimelech’s actions. It was the integrity of the man’s heart that God was looking at, the natural result of that was the innocence of the man. Innocence is a fruit of integrity. Purity of life and in particular sexual purity is possible. This passage demonstrates that God can and does keep people from such a fall, that keeping is on the basis of the integrity of the heart of the person.
What is integrity?
The Hebrew word used is the word TOME; it’s meaning is to do with COMPLETENESS. The figurative picture is that of someone or something that is prospering in uprightness, innocence, simplicity, perfect ness etc. It is in a group of words, which has the sense of being accomplished in completeness that has come to the full, something that is whole. In the N.T. the nearest counterpart is found in
Colossians 2:9-10; "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are COMPLETE in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."
Colossians 4:12; "Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and COMPLETE in all the will of God."
The Hebrew word is in the same group of words from which the word Thummim is derived, the Urim and Thummin was some for breastplate that the High Priest would wear when they were seeking the will of God. There was something about the completeness, the wholeness of this breastplate that indicated the will of the Almighty.
Being holy, has to do with being complete and whole, a person who is ’TOGETHER’, not disjointed, without contradiction, in a state of being with Jehovah, El, Eloim, the I AM that I AM. It was the integrity of this man’s heart that God looked upon and found pleasing. Here was a man that God could talk to and know that what was said would have the desired effect. In spite of the gray of Abraham’s dealing with the king, In spite of the half-truths, God kept this man.
Notice that Abimelech, even though he were the innocent party in this shoddy affair, restored according to the word of God and the custom and law of the day.