Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Genesis 20

Here’s a déja vu moment for us:

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.” (Gen 20:1-5)

Didn’t we see this same situation in Genesis 12??? What is the deal here? In the earlier situation in Egypt, Sarah was only 65 - now she’s 90! And 25 years later, Abraham is falling into the same pattern of protecting his own skin by using Sarah. This time it’s the king of Gerar, a city and people which eventually become the Philistines, Israel’s archenemy. I’d be outraged at Abraham if this weren’t an area I hadn’t also fallen - the area of “half-truths” and “white” lies spoken to “protect.” After all, Sarah really was his half sister (vs. 12), so he and Sarah had apparently agreed long beforehand that they would use this “half-truth” to their advantage:

And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.’ ” (vs.13)

WOW! Look how he had manipulated Sarah here!! God certainly had a work to do in Abraham’s heart still, didn’t He? And, certainly, He still is working these very same issues out in my life, or He would have already called me home! Abraham has truly blown it here - putting not only Sarah, but Abimelech and his household in jeopardy. Isn’t it amazing that God came to Abimelech in a dream here? This is the first time that happens in the Bible, and it’s to a heathen king. This gives me hope for those who don’t know God. Pray for those you love who are resisting God, that He will speak to them in their dreams. That’s actually how He first got my attention, through a very real and vivd dream about Jesus. It’s what started me searching for the Truth!

Okay, so wouldn’t you think God would really let Abraham have it this time and be through with him? Nope! In fact, even though Abraham has had a mouth filled with lies, God commends Abraham to Abimilech: ... he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. (vs. 7) And, in fact, that is exactly what Abraham does for Abimelech (vs. 17-18).

This is also the first time the word prophet is used in the Bible. Instead of removing Abraham from this important ministry, God confirms it. What does this tell you about our merciful God? So often, when we’ve fallen, and possibly think we’ve permanently destroyed our witness for God, He picks us back up and says, “Keep going!” Jon Courson points out that Romans 11:29 says, “...for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Our gracious God will often continue to use His fallible people. Once again, even though we have another example of a servant of God failing to trust God, we remember that Abraham is the father of the faithful. NOT because Abraham was faithful, but because our God is the Faithful One! As Hebrews 11:11 tells us, Abraham “considered him faithful who had made the promise.”

Thank you, God, for today’s reminder that you use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things!

Have a great morning!

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