Virtue: “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness; conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; effective force; power or potency.”
Against the backdrop of Abraham’s deceit and trickery, we see the character of God shining forth as a canopy of stars under a desert sky. Our God, perfect in Virtue, acts on behalf of a pagan king so as to spare not only his life, but also an entire nation; and His inexplicable sovereignty provides wealth and blessing for His misguided servant.
Consider His Virtue
His Virtue is kind, as He appears to Abimelech, the pagan king, to warn him. 20:3
His Virtue is patient, as He listens to Abimelech’s pleading. 20:4-5
His Virtue is impartial, as He acknowledges Abimelech’s innocence. 20:6
His Virtue is empowering, as He kept Abimelech from sinning. 20:6
His Virtue is merciful, as He still chooses to use His flawed servant, despite all Abraham’s failures. 20:7
His Virtue is grace-filled, as we again see the LORD rescuing Abraham from another plan gone awry. 20:14
His Virtue is effective, as He heard the prayers of Abraham and healed Abimelech’s household. 20:17
His Virtue is restorative, as Sarah is restored to Abraham and health to Abimelech’s nation. 20:17-18
His Virtue is sovereign, as He closed wombs to protect Sarah, Abraham’s wife. 20:18
How can we respond to such Virtue, too immense to fully grasp?
- Receive His kind gift of repentance through the work of His Son Jesus Christ who paid the penalty of our sins on the cross. And when we have received such an indescribable gift, we must share His kindness with others, both in word and deed. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
- Rely on His patience as we go to Him with all our questions; He will hear us. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,” (1 John 5:14). We can be assured that seeking Him for answers is to “ask according to His will”; He is our loving Father.
- When we are faced with injustice, take it to the impartial One and leave the judgment to Him. “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!” (Psalm 43:1).
- Rely on the power of the LORD and His Word to keep us from the wiles of sin. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word…Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You,” (Psalm 119:9, 11).
- Receive His mercy when we mess up and don’t buy into the lie that we are no longer worthy to be used by Him. The truth is, we are not worthy; it is only His grace and merciful, miraculous work that fits us for His service. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).
- Pray in faith for the needs and healing of others, trusting in His lovingkindness to accomplish His will. Trust His closing and His opening. “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;” (Psalm 138:8).
- Let us not presuppose and make conclusions based on our own perceptions and previous experiences. “And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you encountered, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife,” 20:10-11. From Abraham’s past encounters he thought he had Abimelech all figured out. Abraham had it figured wrong! This is clearly seen when God confronts Abimelech in his dream. Our pronouncements on others may get in God’s way and even bring about disastrous consequences. Let’s leave the conclusions to Sovereign God and expect the LORD to reveal Himself according to His Virtue wherever He takes us.