Sunday, January 20, 2008

Genesis 20 - Abraham and Abimelech

READING: Genesis 20


BACKGROUND


Abraham is traveling again and has arrived in Gerar, a city believed to have been near Gaza. There, he meets up with Abimelech. (Abimelech means father-king and is likely a title rather than a name.) Once again he tells the king that Sarah is his sister in an effort to save his own skin. Apparently he has been doing this all along since leaving Ur twenty-four years earlier (verse 13).


God calls Abraham a prophet in this passage. This is the first occurence of the word. The Hebrew word is nabi, which means "to proclaim, declare, speak as an intermediary." The emphasis here is that Abraham will act as the official intercessor for Abimelech.


Once Abimelech knew the truth about Sarah and Abraham being married, he was very generous to them with silver and land. Abraham prayed to God for Abimelech and his household, so the LORD allowed them to bear children.




REFLECTION


Christians can develop the attitude that God only works in their lives and ignores the unbelievers. This is far from the truth. Here we see God working in the life of a pagan king. He even speaks to him in a dream. The best thing God did for Abimelech, though, is He kept him from unwittingly sinning against God.


When God revealed the truth to Abimelech in his dream, Abimelech responded with great fear. He feared the true God as soon as He revealed Himself to him. Ironically, Abraham had lied to Abimelech because he thought "surely there is no fear of God in this place" (verse 11).


Abraham thought he needed to take things into his own hands and lied to protect himself. Then when he was caught, he came out with his rationalization to justify himself (verse 12). This is so much a part of our sinful human nature! We can always have a "good" reason why we sinned.




APPLICATION


Do I trust God enough to obey Him completely and let Him handle the details? Or do I limit God to what I think He can or will do? I wonder how many times I've missed seeing what God can do in my life, because I've rushed in ahead and made arrangements myself. Maybe I need to step back more and let God be God.




PRAYER


Lord, let me see your hand at work, not only in my own life, but in those around me. You are the God who can do amazing things! Help me learn to be patient and to allow You to be in contol. Let me learn to trust You completely and obey You completely. Amen.
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