Vol. 7, No. 10
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
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In the biblical accounts addressed in this article, every time this question was asked, someone's life or well-being was in jeopardy or moving into harm's way!
The very first time this question is asked, God is talking to Eve following her disobedience. "And the LORD said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' And the woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate'" (Genesis 3:13). Eve did not possess the mental capacity to comprehend the gravity or the ramification of what she had done! When she ate of the forbidden fruit and shared it with Adam, the whole world was plunged into sin! "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Timothy 2:14).
The second time this question is asked, God is talking to Cain after he had killed Abel. "And He said, 'What have you done?' The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10). As a result of this first murder, God cursed Cain and told him he would be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth. A bum on the run--what a price he paid for what he had done!
The third time this question is asked, Pharaoh is talking to Abram. Abram had been directed by God to get out of his country and go to a land that he would show him. Abram obeyed God, and he left Haran with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot and all their possessions. They journeyed to the land of Canaan, but there was a famine in the land, so Abram went to Egypt. When Abram and Sarai were close to entering Egypt, Abram told Sarai to lie and tell the Egyptians that she was his sister because she was beautiful and he was afraid for his life. Sarai was taken to Pharaoh's house and Abram was treated well for her sake, but God plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. "And Pharaoh called Abram and said, 'What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?'" (Genesis 12:18). So, Pharaoh told Abram to take Sarai and go and he commanded his men, and they sent Abram and Sarai away with all that he had. The plagues God sent on Pharaoh and his house were sufficient for him to understand his life was certainly in jeopardy!
The fourth time this question is asked, Abimelech is talking to Abraham. On this occasion, he and Sarah are in Gerar. Abimelech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah because Abraham had once again lied and said she was his sister! "But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, 'Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife'" (Genesis 20:3). Abimelech immediately began to plead his case. He said to God that he had taken Sarah in the integrity of his heart because Abraham had said Sarah was his sister. God acknowledged that, but went on to tell him that Abraham was a prophet, and he would pray for Abimelech and he would live, but if he did not restore Sarah, he would die and all that were his. "And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, 'What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done'" (Genesis 20:9). Abimelech recognizes he has made an honest but grave mistake, and he takes immediate action to rectify the situation.
After Rebekah and Jacob had deceived Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing of the firstborn son, Esau vowed to kill his brother. When Rebekah heard this, she sent Jacob to her brother Laban. Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel; Rachel was the beautiful one, but she was also the younger daughter. Jacob loved Rachel and told Laban he would serve him seven years for her. At the end of those seven years, he asked Laban to allow her to become his wife. "So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me? And Laban said, 'It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn'" (Genesis 29:25-26). It is almost laughable for Jacob to accuse Laban of deception after what he and his mother had done to Isaac and Esau!
Following David's adultery with Bathsheba, Nathan the prophet came to him and told David he had despised the commandment of the Lord and had done evil in God's sight by killing Uriah the Hittite and taking Uriah's wife to be his wife. David admitted his sin; Nathan tells him God has put away his sin, but the child Bathsheba is carrying will die after birth. When the child becomes ill, David pleaded with God and fasted for the child for a week. On the seventh day, the child died, and the servants of David were afraid to tell him. When David saw his servants whispering, he asked them if the child was dead and they acknowledged that he was. "So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, 'What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food'" (2 Samuel 12:20-21). David told them that while the child was alive there was a chance that God would be gracious to him and allow the child to live, but once the child died, there was nothing further to be gained by fasting and weeping. David said, "But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me'" (2 Samuel 12:23). This account points out to us the biblical truth of sowing and reaping. We can and will be forgiven for any and all sins repented of, but consequences will be ours to bear!
These are a few of the many times the question "What is this you have done?" is asked in Scripture. What are things we have done against God and others? Do we understand what we do and say impacts the lives of so many? Do we realized that we are our "brother's keeper" and that none of us lives to ourselves or dies to ourselves? Are we concerned about the example we set before family members, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends and members of the church? "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men" (2 Corinthians 3:2).