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Genesis 20 (ESV)
Abraham and Abimelech
1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech 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 a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.13 And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.”16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.” 17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18 For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
- Abraham made the same mistake as in an earlier incident (12:10-15). He called Sarah his sister to save his own neck. He got caught, offered excuses, and saw God’s intervention in the end. Whenever Abraham tried to take control of his own life, it seems, he got into trouble. God continued to be faithful despite Abraham’s doubt and disobedience.
- Admittedly, faith lessons are difficult. Think of a time when you bowed to pressures and lied. What happened? Did God show His mercy and get you out of the mess? Recall, also, someone you had lied to or about, and ask God in repentance for forgiveness and an opportunity to reconcile between you and that person.
- Be prepared to share this experience in the coming cell group meeting.
Dear God, I am a person of little faith! When I am in trouble or in danger, I often forget Your help and deliverance and try to use improper methods and words to gain safety. I often deceive myself and others, and sometimes I don’t even realize it! God, please forgive my hidden evil, please search my heart, and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide me, so that I have the courage to face my own unbearableness, confess my sins honestly, and resolve to repent. Amen!
His Mercy is More – youtu.be/fAa2C1yoQ-0