Eternity Daily Bible Study

The Life Of Abraham


Number:570

Verses: Genesis 20:8-18

Topic: Abimelech's Reaction

Date: 21st February 2006

 

Genesis 20:8-18 MKJV And Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears. And the men were greatly afraid.  (9)  Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, What have you done to us? In what 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.  (10)  And Abimelech said to Abraham, What did you see that you have done this thing?  (11)  And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will kill me for my wife's sake.  (12)  And yet truly she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife.  (13)  And it happened when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, This is your kindness which you show to me, at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.  (14)  And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them to Abraham. And he restored him Sarah his wife.  (15)  And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you. Live where it pleases you.  (16)  And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, he is to you a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you, and with all this, you are reproved.  (17)  And Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his slave women, and they gave birth.  (18)  For the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

 

After the last devotional someone wrote and asked if God thought Abraham's behavior was wrong. I think this passage makes clear that it was! In verse 9 Abimelech is furious and says: “You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.”  and afterwards adds “and with all this, you are reproved”. Abraham's behavior was wrong, but it was a wrong done out of weakness and fear, rather than out of greed or oppression. And God delivered Abraham from the mess that his fears got him into. This is a sign of grace, even great grace, that God delivers us even when we do stupid things out of great fear.

 

This was a different age, an age when kings would chop off someone's head for burning the turkey. This was the generation of the Tower of Babel (not so long before) and of Nimrod the mighty predator. Abraham believed “rationally” that Sarah was so beautiful and he was so vulnerable, that powerful people would kill him in order to take Sarah as a wife. So he came up with his strange pact:

 

(12)  And yet truly she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife.  (13)  And it happened when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, This is your kindness which you show to me, at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. 

 

Technically Sarah was his half-sister so he could call her “sister” - but it was still self-preserving and wrong. Amazingly God showed His power to protect Abraham not only from evil, but from his own stupidity.

There are times when we get into a mess of our own making – a taxation blunder, a major social gaffe, or even a disastrous marriage out of fear of being alone. God can redeem even our worst mistakes. God loves us even when we are “dumb” and will help us to recover and to 'do better next time' and knows our levels of fear, desperation and gullibility – the factors that so often lead to these errors. Perhaps an analogy from the smaller to the larger will help - this afternoon one of our beloved cats decided to run away from home for a few hours and sent us all over the neighborhood looking for him. So we “sought out that which was lost” and were just plain glad when he was found. Many of our errors go unpunished, and that is a good thing.  God's gracious lovingkindness is available to all who are in covenant relationship with Him through faith in Christ Jesus - for we are not under law but under grace. Our sin is “covered”:

 

Romans 4:5-8 MKJV But to him not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  (6)  Even as David also says of the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness without works, (7) saying, "Blessed are those whose lawlessnesses are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; (8) blessed is the man to whom the Lord will in no way impute sin."

 

Abraham was the type of “the man to whom the Lord will in no way impute sin”. Even though Abraham did something that was clearly wrong, God refused to impute sin to Abraham or to punish him, but rather delivered him from the situation. Abraham's lawless deeds were forgiven and his sins were covered. And we have the blessings of Abraham through faith in Christ Jesus – including the righteousness that comes through faith alone.

 

Abraham is not only saved from the situation but comes out of it much wealthier than before: (14) And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them to Abraham. And he restored him Sarah his wife.  (15)  And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you. Live where it pleases you.  (16)  And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, he is to you a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you, and with all this, you are reproved.

 

God works everything for good for Abraham, His chosen prophet and the bearer of His Word and the recipient of His covenant love. Abraham may have faltered ethically, but he is still beloved for his faith.

 

Abraham then prays to God for Abimelech: (17) And Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his slave women, and they gave birth.  (18)  For the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

 

Abilmelech was totally at the mercy of Abraham's prayers. As we saw last time if Abraham had not prayed for him Abimelech and his whole household would have been killed, and as it were they were all barren. In fact, nothing would work in Abimelech's life until things were made right with Abraham the man of God. This is what it truly means to “touch the Lord's anointed”. Some people are so holy that to mess with them, is to mess with God.

 

Blessings,

 

John Edmiston (johned@aibi.ph)

 

 

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