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Bible 101 Lesson 4A

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Jim Parker

Bible 101 Lesson 4A

Here we go again:

Gen 20:1-2 And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

Why did Abraham do this? He explains himself to king Abimelech.

Gen 20:9-11 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?”

And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.

But there is a conflict here. Previously it was said of Abraham: (Gen 15:6 ) “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” And God told him that Sarai would have a son. (Gen 17:19) That could not happen if Abimelech’s people killed Abraham and gave Sarah to the king.

So, Abraham, who believed God, wasn’t perfect in his belief. He still had some challenges concerning faith that the LORD would do as He promised HE would do.

It seems Abraham was just like all believers. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe. And the devil is right there with his favorite confusion tool: “Did God really say….?”

And consider this explanation that Abraham gave to Abimelech: (Gen 20:12) “But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.”

Abraham married his stepsister. They had the same father. When we get to Moses, marrying someone who is that close a relative will forbidden by the Law.

Lev 18:6 None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD.

Lev 18:9 The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or the daughter of your mother, whether born at home or elsewhere, their nakedness you shall not uncover.

And, again, Abraham is enriched by the events.

Gen 20:14-16 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelech said, “See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.”

Then to Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody.” Thus she was rebuked.***

*** The Septuagint reads; “But tell the truth in all things.” (Which is more understandable to me. Abimelech wanted everyone to know that he didn’t do anything wrong.)

So Abimelech wants to make it completely clear that he is innocent of any wrong doing in this episode. He acted innocently because of the deception of Abraham. (Who spoke as if he didn’t trust God to do as He promised.)

Then Abraham acts as a priest of the LORD and intercedes with God on behalf of Abimelech.

Gen 20:17-18 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Note there was no ceremonial cleansing or repentance on the part of Abraham. He just acted as a priest immediately after letting Abimelech take his wife out of fear that they might kill him and take her anyway.

God seems to accept Abraham’s faith as being sufficient even though not perfect. (As in: “…if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Mat 17:20)

The Birth of Isaac

Gen 21:1-4 And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac.

Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

Abraham was 86 when Hagar bore Ishmael. He is now 100 years old. So Abraham waited at least 15 years for God to fulfill His promise that Sarah would have a son. May times, our faith is more the “drive through window” type. We want to see results NOW! Abraham has given us a lesson in both patience and faith. He and Sarah have a child at that late age after waiting 15 years.

Trouble in paradise

But the happiness doesn’t last. Ishmael mocks Isaac to the point that Sarah decides she has had enough and tells Abraham to get rid of him and Hagar.

Ishmael is still Abraham’s son so He is grieved by this demand but God tells him to do as Sara asked and promises to bless Ishmael. So Abraham complies with Sarah’s wish.

A covenant with the Philistine, Abimelech (Gen 12:22-34)

Abimelech recognized that God was with Abraham is everything he did so he brought the commander of his army to make a covenant with Abraham. This is an example of the blessing of God on someone bearing witness of the power of God to an unbeliever.

It is also an example of how unbelievers watch believers to see if the God they serve is real and, also, if the believers are really faithful to the God they proclaim.
That brings up a very good point. We are very impatient as human beings and we want all of our prayers answered now! That's when we fail to realize that God will answer them in His own time and in His own way even though we won't always like the answer.
And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.
It would seem that men of God in the old testament were all sacred at death at some point. These men did powerful things, but became afraid of death, because of threats of others and also choices they made that seemed bad.