Year 2 Day 234
Read - Genesis 20
Message - Scott Woodburn
How long does it take for you to learn your lesson? For most of us, the mistakes we once made are the mistakes we continue to make. Abraham was no exception. In Genesis 12 he had lied about his relationship with his wife Sarai. The Egyptian Pharaoh saw her beauty and claimed her for himself. This act caused the Lord’s judgement to fall upon the Egyptians.
Surely Abraham wouldn’t make such a mistake again? As a new chapter begins Abraham wanders in Gerar where he said that his wife Sarah was actually his sister (v2). It wasn’t exactly a lie. Abraham would explain later that Sarah was his half-sister (v12) Yet he failed to mention that she was also his wife. Abraham saw that there was no fear of God in Gerar and so he feared for his life (v11). Essentially he lacked faith that God would protect him.
Abraham’s actions once again caused trouble for Sarah. She was taken into the royal house of king Abimelech of Gerar. Sarah was an elderly woman and so some have wondered if Abimelech took Sarah to forge a partnership with Abraham. Equally Sarah would soon have a baby so perhaps she maintained a youthful appearance that caught the eye of Abimelech? Whatever the reason behind Abimelech’s actions, God spoke and warned him that because he had taken another man’s wife he would die (v3).
Abimelech called upon the Lord and protested his innocence. He had taken Sarah believing her to be Abraham’s sister. He had acted with integrity (v4-5). The Lord knows the hearts of humanity and so He agreed with Abimelech’s assessment. God knew the lie of Abraham and equally the integrity of Abimelech. If Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham then no judgement would fall upon him but if he refused he would surely die (v7).
Abimelech reported all of this to his household and great fear fell upon them all (v8). Later Abraham explained his foolishness to Abimelech (v11-13) and was met with an entirely gracious response. He gave Abraham sheep and oxen and servants (v14). He returned Sarah to Abraham (v14b). He offered Abraham freedom in the land of Gerar (v15) and as a sign of Sarah’s innocence, Abimelech gave her one thousand silver pieces (v16).
In response to the generosity of Abimelech, Abraham prayed for the man he once feared (v17). It was by the means of answering the prayer of Abraham that the Lord opened the wombs of the women in Abimelech’s house for they had previously been closed as God’s judgement fell upon Abimelech.
As I read Genesis 20 I’m reminded of the words of Christ when He said “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5v37) Jesus was teaching about false, empty and frivolous oaths. Instead of boasting and lies we are to be men and women of integrity. Abraham would have done well if he had trusted himself to the Lord’s protection and declared Sarah to be his wife. He didn’t and on two occasions his wife and the house of Pharaoh and Abimelech paid the price.
Brothers and sisters, let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Brothers and sisters, pray that lies would not escape your lips. Brothers and sisters, walk in your homes, towns, jobs and churches with integrity. Brothers and sisters, flee from gossip and slander. Brothers and sisters, be quick to apologise and quicker to forgive. The days are running out and so it is time to walk in a manner that displays the glory of the Gospel. As Christ once said “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3v8)
Q3 What do the Scriptures principally teach? The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.