Abraham acts in fear not faith
Abraham lies to Abimelech

Genesis 20
 

1 And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 

2 Now 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, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife." 

4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 

5 Did he not say to me, 'She is my sister'? And she, even she herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this." 

6And God said to him in a dream, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 

7Now therefore, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."

8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. 

9 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." 

10 Then Abimelech said to Abraham, "What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?" 

11 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.

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. 

13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, 'This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, "He is my brother."

14 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. 

15And Abimelech said, "See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you." 

16 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. 

17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; 

18 for the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.


                        ..........................................................................................

1 And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 
 

The text does not tell us why Abraham went South. It could have been because of the catastrophic effect of the destruction of Sodom and
Gomorrah.
We know from scripture that this area was “like the garden of God”, before the destruction, that’s why Lot chose it as the place to dwell.


10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 
 

However after the destruction it would have been completely different. It is believed that this is the where the Dead Sea is now. 
We know that the angels told Lot to flee to the mountains..

 

17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." 
 

 However Lot begged to go to Zoar, a short distance from Sodom.

Gen 19:20  See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live." 

21 And he said to him, "See, I have favoured you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 

22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 
 

The only place that could have been the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is where the Dead Sea is now.

Below is a picture of the Dead Sea viewed from the mountains. The other picture shows where Lot could have chose to run to. The two possible locations of Zoar. One of these is Gawr al- Mazraah to the North of the Dead Sea and the other is Gawr as-Safi, which is South of the Dead Sea as you go towards Egypt. The first was 6 miles from Sodom and the other was 4 miles from Sodom.

What this area was like after the destruction we do not know but we do know it would not have been a nice place to hang around.
So Abraham went South.

He did this once before when he went down to Egypt. It appears that a similar thing happened again, in that Abraham lied about who Sarah was. We read this in Genesis 12:9.

Gen 20:2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 
 

She is my sister: This is the same lie Abraham told back in Genesis 12:10-13.
Even after all the experiences of God, angels and promises, we still see how easy it is for men to slip back in to old sinful habits.
Abraham stumbles in a place he stumbled before. Instead of trusting God to keep his family together, he devised his own plan to do it. It shows Abraham’s fear for his life, and this is after God had told him not to be afraid.


Genesis 15:1 – After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’


Abraham devised his own plan and again his plan will fail completely.The lesson is here for us today, the only way for us to safeguard falling to temptation, especially our weaknesses, is to stay close to Jesus, to constantly put on Christ. Staying strong in the faith, by reading God’s word, prayer and fellowship.

Keeping short accounts with God, in confession, repentance and forgiveness.

Age in Christian life does not automatically sanctify us. Unless we yield to the Spirit of God, we will repeat in our old age the sinful
patterns of our youth.

 

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night,

This must have been a scary dream. For God to threaten his death.

V7. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."
 

We see Abimelech appeal to God, that he did not know Sarah was another mans wife.


Quote from Barnhouse:
This may seem drastic, but the stakes were high. "Suppose Abimelech had taken Sarah and God had not intervened? Two seeds would have been at the door to Sarah's womb, and to this day an element of doubt would cling to the ancestry of our Lord."  End of Quote.

 
“I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart”: Because Abimelech's heart was right in this regard, God kept him from worse sin.
This show how merciful God really is. God's protecting power can guide even a pagan king. Also, protecting the promised seed.


6 And God said to him in a dream, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 

7 Now therefore, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."


Despite Abraham's sin and failure to really trust God in the situation, God was not going to abandon him. He would not let Abimelech touch Sarah. The womb of Sarah was going to produce the son of promise, who would eventually bring forth God's Messiah.
God had no intention of leaving this matter up to man!

For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you: Even though Abraham is in sin, he is still a prophet and man of powerful prayer. God's mercy did not leave Abraham, even though Abraham didn't trust God the way he should.

Even when Abimelech confronts Abraham about what he had done and how he had put Abimelech and his family in danger, Abraham made excuses.
 

11 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.

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. 

13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, 'This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, "He is my brother." '
 

First, he was scared for his life. V11.
Second, he said, well! It was only a white lie, “But indeed she is truly my sister”. No apology for withholding the truth.
Thirdly, he blamed God for causing him to move.
Finally, he led Sarah into lying for him.

Sounds like a pattern to me. Remember the Garden of Eden.
God said
“what have you done”.
Adam blamed God and his wife Eve. Adam said, “it was the woman you gave to me, she gave the fruit to me”.
Eve blamed Satan. “The serpent beguiled me”.
 

We always have an excuse or a reason for our sinful actions, it is always someone else’s fault. “Look what you made me do”, “Serves them right”, “I couldn’t help it”. “God made me this way”.

God has this amazing way of turning something bad into something good.
Even the sinful acts of men are overturned for good.

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His
purpose.


God uses the sinful acts of men and they are included in His plans and purposes. Yet God is not the author of sin. Man chooses whether to sin or not.
Whether they are unbelievers and have a will to only choose between a greater or lesser evil. Or they are believers who have a free will to choose between good or evil. It is still their choice.


“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’” says the Epistle of James, “for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:13–14).

Even though Abimelech was not really to blame for what happened, he still made recompense.
 

14 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. 


Abraham had wronged Abimelech and yet Abimelech gave Abraham gifts. This would have been a rebuke to Abraham. Imagine doing someone a great disservice and it being revealed, and then the person you wronged gave you gifts. I think it would make me feel ashamed of myself.


15 And Abimelech said, "See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you." 

This was God’s part in deciding where Abraham should dwell, not Abraham making his own choices.

This action of Abimelech was a rebuke to Abraham and Sarah.
Oh, and by the way, I have given “your brother” a thousand pieces of silver. Notice not “your husband”.

 

16 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. 
 

Again we see God’s hand on this situation in that He made it impossible for the promised seed to be marred.
 

17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; 

18 for the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.


God had closed all the wombs of Abimelech’s house so that no one could get pregnant.
Sarah would have been reckoned as part of Abimelech’s household.
Even though we are born of God, part of the Israel of God, it does not mean that we have reached at state of entire sanctification.
We are a work in progress as it were. We are being sanctified.
We are not to give in to our sinful lusts, we are to resist the devil and he will flee from us.
However, when we fall and we will. We must confess our sin and repent.


1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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