Summary: Part 36 of our Genesis series dealing with Abraham and Abimelech
A Moral Man Condemned (Genesis part 36)
Text: Genesis 20:1-18
By: Ken McKinley
Well we’ve made it to Genesis chapter 20, we’re not quite half-way through this book, and if we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that these men of God in Genesis were just as bone-headed as we are. Adam sinned against God and ruined it for all who would follow him. Noah gets drunk and passes out in his tent. Abraham has stumbled and bumbled along, and his nephew Lot got drunk with his daughters and committed an immoral sin. So if we’ve learned anything, it’s that sin affects everyone, even those who are trying to follow God; even men that we look at as godly and important.
And the fact is – that Abraham is one of the most important men in all of history. Three world religions trace their history back to Abraham (the Jewish religion, Christianity, and Islam). His name is mentioned in the Bible more than 300 times, but in spite of all that, he’s just as sinful as any of us here today. He makes just as many mistakes and messes up just like we do. And today we’re going to see that… AGAIN!
So turn with me to Genesis chapter 20 and follow along as I begin reading in verse 1
Now about 20 years before the events that we just read about, way back in chapter 12, Abraham and Sarah had gone to Egypt because of a famine, and while they were there, Abraham was afraid that the Pharaoh would kill him and take his wife, so he had Sarah lie and say that she was his sister. And if you remember; God straightened all of that mess out. Well its 20 years later, Abraham’s about 100 years old now, and we see that he falls back into his old habits. This right here should show us that even when we think we’re where we should be, we should always be vigilant and alert when it comes to fighting against and putting to death our sins.
So what we see is that Abraham packs up his tent and moves to a places called Gerar… Just so you know; Gerar is Philistine country. Why Abraham decided to do this is anyone’s guess. Maybe he thinks his nephew Lot is dead, and he’s blaming God for it, so he decides that he’ll go live with the pagans. More likely, the food and water sources that he used for his livestock were growing thin and he traveled someplace where there was plenty of grass and water. But for whatever reason, he moves to a place where pagans live. And when he gets there, he becomes fearful and he lies about his wife, and says that she is his sister. Now the motivation behind that is just selfishness… it’s purely self- preservation. Sarah’s still really good looking, and Abraham’s afraid the people of the region might hurt him or kill him and take his wife, so he starts telling people, Sarah’s not my wife, she’s my sister.
And I’m sorry to say ladies, but the Bible doesn’t tell us how Sarah was able to be so good looking at 90 years old. It doesn’t give us any of her beauty secrets or her exercise program or anything like that. I would imagine that it was God’s doing… but she was in-fact beautiful, and Abraham’s made up this lie to save his skin. And wouldn’t you know it… Abimelech, the king of Gerar finds out about this good looking 90 year old woman, and he thinks, “Well since she’s Abraham’s sister, then it won’t be a problem if I marry her.” And he takes her and adds her to his harem.
So the next time all you ladies think your husband is being a jerk… at least he hasn’t done all the junk that Abraham’s done right? So he forgot your anniversary, well at least he didn’t let some Middle Eastern king add you to his harem right?
So in his ignorance, Abimelech does this, and God comes to him in a dream.
Now I’ll just be perfectly honest with you here. This messes with me a little bit. Abraham and Sarah are the ones who messed up, but God comes to Abimelech and tells him, “You’re dead meat buddy! That’s a married woman you just added to your harem.”
You would think that God would’ve appeared to Abraham and said something like, “Hey Abraham! Didn’t I promise you that you and Sarah were going to have a son? Why are you giving your wife away? What in the heck’s wrong with you?” But instead; God appears to Abimelech.
Now this is important… Abimelech isn’t a believer. He’s a pagan. And we’ve seen God do this before with Pharaoh. And the reason I say it’s important is because it tells us that God is a sovereign God, who can do as He pleases. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” And Psalm 135:6 says, “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does. In heaven and in earth. In the seas and in all the deep places.” And so God’s got a plan. Sarah and Abraham are going to have a baby, and that baby is going to have a baby, and that baby is going to have a baby, and on and on, until we get to Jesus, who is going to die for man’s sins and reconcile us back to God. And no ignorant Philistine king is going to mess up God’s plan, and neither is Abraham.