Eternity Daily Bible Study

The Life Of Abraham


Verses: Genesis 20:1-7

Topic: The Prophet And The King

Date: February 15th 2006


Genesis 20:1-7 MKJV And Abraham moved from there toward the south country, and lived between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar.  (2)  And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. And Abimelech the king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.  (3)  But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are about to die, for the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man's wife.  (4)  But Abimelech had not come near her. And he said, Lord, will You also kill a righteous nation?  (5)  Did he not say to me, She is my sister? And she, even she herself said, He is my brother. In the sincerity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.  (6)  And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the sincerity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me. Therefore I did not allow you to touch her.  (7)  Now therefore, restore his wife to the man. For he is a prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live. And if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.


The ancient world had church-state conflicts in the form of conflicts between prophets and kings. Here a prophet – Abraham, is being (accidentally) mistreated by Abimelech, an ancient regent of the Philistines who had taken the attractive Sarah into his harem. In God's judgment the king must restore Sarah or die, along with all his household. Now this is the precise reverse of worldly logic which says that kings have much more power than old prophets.


God appears to Abimelech in a dream with the startling words “Behold you are about to die.” and despite Abimelech's protestations concludes with the dire predication: “And if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.” This is serious business. God is about to take a whole family line to the grave because of an accidental sin. Abimelech repents quickly and of course restores Sarah to Abraham as we shall see later.


Abraham was so important to God that He would wipe out anyone who touched His prophet. Interestingly Abraham is called a prophet but makes no end time predications and there is no known book of Abraham's prophetic writings. He was a prophet in the sense of receiving dreams and visions from God and hearing God directly in holy conversation and prayer. Abraham was one who heard the voice of God and knew the actual literal word of God. This was the privilege of the “nabi” – to know the word of the Lord. They were the literal communication link between man and God.


This hearing of the voice of the Lord and knowing the word of God in dreams and visions and having intimacy with God was quite rare in OT times. However the New Covenant has opened it up in a much greater way to those who believe and a gift of prophecy was found to be quite common in New Testament churches:

Acts 2:16-18 MKJV But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: (17) "And it shall be in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  (18)  And in those days I will pour out My Spirit upon My slaves and My slave women, and they shall prophesy.


1 Corinthians 14:29-31 MKJV (29) And if there are two or three prophets, let them speak, and let the others judge.  (30)  If a revelation is revealed to another sitting by, let the first be silent.  (31)  For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted.


This is a result of the Holy Spirit coming to dwell in our hearts and reveal the things of God to us (1 Corinthians 2:9-16, 1 John 2:20,27).


Back to Abraham, because of his sacred knowledge he was highly esteemed by God so that even earthly rulers such as Pharaoh (Genesis chapter 12) and Abimelech (Genesis 20) had to defer in honor to Abraham, thus making Abraham literally the top of the totem pole in the Ancient Near East. In a conflict of possession between Abraham and the most powerful rulers in the land – Abraham always won. In Genesis 12 and 20 Sarah was the cherished “possession”, and in Genesis 14 when Abram defeats the five kings it was Lot. (People were viewed as “possessions” of their feudal overlords back then).


Thus when the prophet Abraham faced all the might kings of the earth that he humanly feared and dreaded, God always defended him, so that is his lifetime Abraham won significant conflicts with the rulers of the Egyptians, Syrians, Babylonians, and the Philistines thus covering virtually the entire map of the ANE (Ancient Near East).


This has a huge bearing on Church-State issues. God was prepared to kill a king in order to deliver a prophet. The genuine prophet who hears and speaks Gods very words is far higher in God's esteem than those who dispense even good and wise human laws.  God is thus a true defender of His intimate covenant relationship with Abraham,


The Spirit-filled ministry is thus a very high calling especially when the word of God is heard clearly and is spoken accurately. God will defend His servants and thinks very highly of them with love. To often we think of Christian workers as being close to the bottom of the social pecking order, far below millionaire CEOs and senators. But God has another opinion, and it has nothing to do with human opinion, for God values His servants, cherishes them and defends them.


The power Abraham wielded was the power to intercede for others and in Abimelech's case this was literally the power of life and death: For he is a prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live. God conferred the acting out of the blessing or curse to Abraham and his prayers. If Sarah was restored and Abraham prayed for Abilemelch, then he would live. If Abraham did not pray for him, he would die!


People live or die depending on our prayers. They are spared or cursed, saved or lost, and healed or not depending on the intercession of the saints. Prayer is a mighty thing and by it alone Abraham the prophet ruled over the kings of his day.





John Edmiston (



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