Abraham and Abimelech

20: 1-18

On the surface, it would seem that this chapter is one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible to understand. The narrative is simple enough to understand. But how could Abraham and Sarah, at this time in their lives, repeat the exact sin they committed before in Egypt? This was not the fall of a young and inexperienced disciple. It might have been understandable in those days before their faith had been fully tested and the LORD’s faithfulness confirmed. But how could they do it now? Over and over again, they had seen many wonderful answers to their prayers, many miraculous proofs of ADONAI’s care and protection. Their faith had stood many tests, and God had never failed them. And now, finally, they were about to have their long-promised son! How could they?330

But when we look deeper, we learn that this same distasteful story is put here for a very important reason. Avraham and Sarah are going to have to deal with this sin before they can have Isaac, before they can have the blessing. And it is the same for you and me. Until we are willing to deal with the sin in our lives, there will be no blessing for us either. After reading this section, you will be convinced more than ever that Abraham really is the father of us all (Romans 4:16b).

This is the last of four tests where Abraham fell flat on his face. First, he stayed in Hebron when he should have gone to the Promised Land (11:31b). Secondly, he left Palestine and went to Egypt. Thirdly, he listened to his wife instead of waiting on ADONAI, which resulted in the birth of Ishmael and untold problems (16:1-16). And fourthly, here, his lapse of faith continued as he refused to trust the LORD for his and his wife’s safe keeping when he lied to Abimelech (20:1-18). But these failures were to prepare him for the greatest test in his life, one that he would pass with flying colors.


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