We’re back at it with more on our story of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are getting to know this God, straight from Scripture, and not from popular culture. In fact, in some cases, we may be destroying some of the misconceptions we have about God that we’ve picked up from here and there that have actually distorted God’s character and hurt us in the process. Here, we want no nonsense, to make us feel good inside while taking us farther away from God.
Here, we’re after the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Simple as that.
After the destruction of Sodom, Abraham goes to Negeb and he sojourned in Gerar, this south of Israel today. There, incredibly, Abraham tries the old Sarah is my sister approach and he goes through the same predicament as before because Abimelech, king of Gerar took Sarah to be his wife. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, intervenes for Sarah once again. 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.”
Now, I don’t know who listening to this needs to hear this but, if you are or are thinking of entering a relationship with a married woman, listen to the words of God here. Death awaits on the other side of that exchange. Flee from it. That’s all I need to say about that.
Now Abimelech had not “known” Sarah, as we have discussed before, kings took wives in those days and they were to go through a whole process to get ready to be with the king. So, he pleads to God, saying Abraham lied to him. “In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this,” he says in Genesis chapter 20, verse 5.
So, yes, of course, God knows this and will acquiesce. But the answer will blow your mind away! Listen to what God tells him, He tells yes, I know you did this in the integrity of your own heart, [quote] “it was I who kept you from sinning against me” [end quote].
I mean, there is so much there… I don’t want to bog down the story so that you feel we’re sort of stuck in the mud and we won’t get out of it any time soon. I guarantee you we’re moving along, we will get to the birth of Isaac on this very episode, so that the transition will start already- BUT… but… let’s not miss what we are learning here about the God of Abraham.
You see what we’re doing, right? We’re putting layers upon layers of knowledge. Your spiritual muscles are being strengthen as I speak. You are being built up. Do not quit now!
Listen, we already know the God of Abraham will stand up for the oppress. He will not forget the destitute. He deals with each, with justice. No one gets away with anything, I like to say.
Notice here against who the offense, the real offense is committed, if Abimelech was to marry Sarah. It’s against God. “it was I who kept you from sinning against me,” says the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Listen, you want to engage in sinful behavior, in sinful relationships, you have bigger problems than the people you are hurting around you. And believe me you are hurting A LOT of people.
I know there are many out there who have already gone through the experience who can attest to the pain and suffering of such a path. But that is the least of your problems. Your eternal destiny is on the line.
But there is good news. There is hope still. God can help you! He can help you get out of the deep whole you find yourself in. He told Abimelech, it was Him, God, who kept Abimelech from sinning. God did not let Abimelech touch Sarah.
Listener, the battle against sin must be won in God’s strength, not ours. We are not strong enough! Cry out to God, ask Him to fight the fight for you, to strengthen you, to lead you. Surrender to Him and you will begin to see a change in your life.
It’s not that He will not allow painful experiences come your way, they will still come. But God will use each and every one of them for your good.
God asks Abimelech to return Sarah to Abraham, for he is “a prophet.” Let us note that. God calls Abraham a prophet, even though he has not up until now, at least as recorded, done the types of things that we usually think prophets do, proclaim the word of God and “prophecy” right of what’s to come.
But I told you we would be tearing down some misconceptions, and the role of prophets here is one that we might need to start revisiting in our minds. God calls Abraham a prophet and we know he has been called and chosen by God for a specific task. We can also add to that, the fact that God tells Abimelech that Abraham will pray for Abimelech so that God will answer Abraham and spare him his life.
So, we can say that the prophet of God is also an intercessor. He tells the people the Word of God and He brings to God the plight of the people. Remember that.
Note again, how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is revealing himself to us. It pleases Him to move according to His will, through the prayers of His people. This is sometimes a hard concept to grasp, but it is crucial for us to understand this. Yes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is in control. Nothing happens against His ultimate purposes. Yet, He asks us to pray without ceasing and He will move through our prayers. It is an amazing thing!
Abimelech returns Sarah to Abraham and asks him why he did what he did. Abraham here gives the same answer he gave before, he thought he would be killed since there was no fear of the Lord in that place and Sarah was very beautiful.
I do not know if we have mentioned it before, but we must consider that this practice, though foreign to us now, could’ve been fairly common at the time, so that Abraham’s fear is well founded. These kings, as kings, might do what they want. In fact, remember David, who as king took another man’s wife, so I throw that out there so as to make you feel the rawness of this account. The Bible is incredibly real. We read of some horrific things in it, perhaps things we have not experienced ourselves, especially those of us here in America, but let us be wise and consider that we are all capable of many of the horrific things we hear about.
Much evil can come out of man’s heart. It is why we are in need of a Savior.
But here the Scriptures lets us in in a little secret. You might have thought Abraham was plainly lying on these “she’s my sister” nonsense, but here we find out Sarah is indeed, according to verse 12 of Chapter 20, the daughter of Abraham’s father with another woman, not Abraham’s mother. And, they had also come to this arrangement as they sojourned over lands, that they would say this up front.
Abimelech lets Abraham live on his land and he gives him money and many possessions, sheep, oxen and servants. Again, a potentially disastrous situation, has turned out for Abraham’s good, to bring about the promises of God in his life.
This is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is worthy of our trust. Perhaps you find yourself in the middle of that difficult situation where there seems to be no way out. DO NOT underestimate the power of Yahweh, the great I Am. He will use this to your advantage, if like Abraham, you believe Him.
Abraham prays for Abimelech and we are given an even more understanding here. It turns out that God had, according to verse 18, closed all the wombs in Abimelech’s house, since he had taken Sarah. So, we can see a bit more of the context of his dream. It seems things were not a right from the moment he took Sarah. But now Abraham prays, and everyone is healed from this him (he will not surely die now, immediately) and his household will be opened up again.
And now the time has finally come, on chapter 21. The Lord visits Sarah and she conceived and bore a son in her old age and he was named Isaac. This is the son of the promise Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded, on the eight day, when Abraham was 100 years old.
We must pause here, no? It has taken us five episodes, six with this one, from the time God gave the promise to Abraham. Can you understand a bit more the God of Abraham?
He does not move on our timeline. Write that down.
Recall when we started this journey, Abraham was 75 when he departed, after having heard God’s promise for the first time. The promise seemed impossible at first and with each passing year for 25 years, it would have been more than reasonable to doubt the promise of God.
You see why, it was counted to Abraham as righteousness that he believed God. He had faith that God would deliver on His promise, even though it would have been more than reasonable to despair. To say, “God has forgotten about me.”
But he had not.
So, we’ll leave it there at this important, really significant point in the story, because, more than anything I want you to think about it, to meditate on what has just happened. The Scriptures just take a few verses to describe this to us, at the beginning of chapter 21, but you and I who know the Genesis of the story (pun intended) can appreciate the significance.
If you are in the middle of your journey. In the middle of those 25 years of waiting on God. Wait on God. Do not despair. He is faithful. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not lie. You did not mishear His promises to you. This is what the enemy usually tells us when we are waiting on God.
Remember the serpent on the garden? What did it tell Eve? “Did God really say…?” Do not fall for it. What God has spoken in your life will come to pass. He has not forgotten about you.
All things, even the painful things, are working to bring it about. He is the Great I Am. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There is none like Him. Believe it!
Peace unto you.