Summary: The Patriarchs Those Sins that Plague us Genesis 21 David Taylor June 19, 2016
Those Sins that Plague us
June 19, 2016
Two themes run through Genesis. The first is the mission of rescuing the nations from their sinfulness and the promise of a deliverer, the Messiah. This comes into focus when God chooses Abraham to be the one through whom God will bless the nations. The life of Abraham displays great faith yet like the rest of us, he also displays great failure. We all have sins that plague us. We see today Abraham entangled in sin that has plagued him for twenty-five years.
Abraham travels south to Gerar. The land was divided by tribes or clans living in cities with kings ruling over the city. If a king saw a woman that caught his eye he could take her into his harem. Abraham fears this may happen (11) so he says that Sarah is his sister so he would not be killed if the king wanted Sarah. Well, king Abimelech finds her attractive and takes her.
This sin plagued him for twenty-five years – every time they entered some new land they lied about their relationship so Abraham would not be killed (13). We are given two instances. The first time came right after God called Abraham, promising him a son and to make him into a great nation. This time comes right after God promises that the promised son will come within the year. Implicit in these promises is the promise to protect Abraham. He had to remain alive for Sarah to have a son by him! Yet when the pressure was on, fear rose in his heart and he talked himself into unbelief. “God is not going to protect me, they will kill me and take Sarah.” “I have to find a way to protect myself.” Even after twenty-five years of God’s faithfulness, he still wavered under pressure. We all have sins like this that plague us. He did not see God as big and powerful and sovereign over his life. He did not believe that he was really immortal until God was finished with him in this life. When the pressure came God seemed small and weak and unable because fear gripped his heart and choked out faith.
Fear can be a very positive emotion. It convinces us to step away from the edge of a tall building or to slow down around a sharp corner. But spiritually fear can also talk us out of believing God and trusting his promises. We fear having enough money so we do not give to the cause of Christ or don’t help others who are in need. We fear we will not get a job so we lie on the application or in the interview. We fear others won’t accept us for who we are so we lie or act differently around them. Or we fear that others will look down upon us if they really knew how messed up we are so we do not tell anyone our struggles with sin. Maybe it is not fear that plagues you, maybe it is pornography or some other sexual sin, anger, gossip, worry, being critical, lack of discipline, overeating, or jealousy. What plagues you today?
Immediately after taking Sarah, the text says, but God came to Abimelech in a dream saying, “you are a dead man because the woman you took is another man’s wife (3).” Abimelech appeals to God’s justice, “would you kill an innocent people? He told me she was his sister; I did not know she was his wife (4-5).” It appears Abimelech feared God more than Abraham thought and never would have taken a married woman. God knew this, God says, “I know you did this with an upright heart, it was I who kept you from sinning. Therefore, I did not let you touch her (6).” Abimelech freely chose not to touch Sarah and yet God says he kept Abimelech from sinning and prevented him from touching her. Scripture says that the heart of the king is in the hand of God who directs it as he wills. God’s sovereignty is so incomprehensible that humanity does not even know or perceive it. And God does it in such a way that humanity is still free and morally responsible