Summary: Abraham & Abimelech. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Genesis chapter 20 verses 1-18.
A man opened a new business and his best friend sent him a floral arrangement:
• When the friend popped in to see him a few days later;
• He was shocked to see that the shop had sent a card saying; “Rest in peace”.
• When he called the florist to complain.
• The florist said; “Well, it could be worse.
• Somewhere in the city is an arrangement in a cemetery that reads;
• “Congratulations on your new location”.
• Mistakes of course, are part of life;
• Even the so-called greats have made them!
• In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene II,
• Caesar asks Brutus, "What is't o'clock?" Brutus replies, "Caesar, 'its strucken eight."
• The great Bard had forgotten that mechanical clocks;
• Were not invented until 14 centuries after Caesar's death.
• So mistakes are part of life;
• And we will see in today’s passage that Abraham & Sarah are about to make a big one!
Actually for Abraham & Sarah this chapter is Déjà vu:
• Abraham and his wife have already committed this sin before;
• We read about it in Genesis chapter 12 verse 10 to chapter 13 verse 4
• Years earlier they faced an almost identical situation;
• And on that occasion they acted in the same way as in this incident.
• Instead of trusting God and relying on him;
• They lied, schemed and deceived as they try to handle the situation in their own wisdom.
• Although they are repeat offenders;
• Remember that they did not behave like this habitually. They were not doing this every other week.
• There was a twenty-five year gap between the two incidents.
• This sin was not a habitual sin but occasional moments of folly.
Personal: Perhaps you can identify with Abraham here because every Christian:
• Battles with the same struggles and all of us are repeat offenders!
• The same failures can keep at times turn up again and again in the life of a Christian.
• Ill: Life is very circular;
• Certain battles we fought and we won and we assumed were finished;
• May well rear their ugly head in some other guise in the future.
• At a certain Children’s hospital;
• A boy had a reputation for wrecking havoc with the nurses and staff.
• Embarrassed by his behaviour his mother tried to blackmail him into being good.
• She made him a proposition.
• If you can behave for 24 hours;
• When I come back tomorrow I will give you a pound.
The next day the mother returned and looking her son straight in the eye said;
“I’m not going to ask the nurses or staff if you have behaved, I’m going to ask you.
You must tell me yourself, do you deserve the pound?”
• After a few minutes silence the boy said;
• “You had better give me 10p”
Maybe we can identify with that boy;
• Even after we have trusted Christ for many years:
• We can find ourselves repeating the same sins over and over again.
• Even though we should be at the stage of receiving the pound;
• Sadly we are still struggling and at the 10p, 20p 30p stage!
Stories in the Bible like this one in Genesis about God’s people failing;
• Are not there to encourage us to sin,
• They are there as warnings, telling us to beware of sin!
• The point being, that if these so called ‘great’ men & women of faith failed;
• Then we so called ‘ordinary’ believers had better be careful.
• Ill: Road sign: ‘Work in progress’.
• That was true for Abraham & Sarah and it is certainly true for us as Christians!
Quote: Alan Redpath:
“The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment,
the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime”.
• When we find ourselves facing the same old temptations, circumstances and sins;
• Remember victory is possible …..
• But only if we ‘walk by faith and not by sight’.
• Sadly for Abraham & Sarah they in this chapter ‘walk by sight and not by faith’.
1“Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, "She is my sister." Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.”
We are not told why Abraham moved from where he was to this new location in Gerar:
• He was living in Hebron (Means “Fellowship”).
• He moves to Gerar (“Meaning lodging-place”)