Summary: IN Genesis 20, we see one of the many failures in the life and ministry of Abraham. This sermon highlights how God responds to our failures.
WHEN WE FAIL
Genesis 20:1-18 (NLT)
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Intro: Sports fans are fickle aren’t they? Last weekend, as I was watching our Atlanta Falcons play football, I noticed something that made me wonder. If any of you watched the game, you know that we lost the game in overtime. Our quarterback, Matt Ryan did not have a good game. He threw several interceptions and was part of the reason they lost the game. What made me think was the fact that the crowd started booing him late in the game. Now this was the man who could do no wrong in the first 5 games when they were undefeated but when he wasn’t perfect anymore the crowd rejected him.
. I’m sure that almost all of us have heard of Babe Ruth, the famous baseball player. The Babe for many, many years was considered the greatest home run hitter of all time. That was before hammering Hank Aaron broke his home run record. The Babe was a pretty good hitter also. He had a career batting average of .342. Only in baseball are you considered successful when you succeed 30% of the time. The Babe would come up to the plate and the crowds would go wild and they would acknowledge their love for him in their cheers. As he got older though and his bat speed slowed and his eyes were not quite like they used to be, he started striking out a lot more. This same crowed that had loved him and cheered and praised him were now booing him when he came to the plate. The crowds applauded him when he was successful but they rejected him when he failed.
. I guess that’s what we should expect from people when we strike out - when we don’t have the success they expect.
. Thankfully God does not respond to our failures the same way.
.How does God react when we strike out?
. How will God look at us when we fail more than we succeed in the Christian Life?
. You see, we Christians usually strike out more than we hit home runs in our Christian walk with God.
.Our scripture today highlights a person of faiths failure and how God responds to that failure.
. We are back in Genesis this morning, chapter 20.
. We have been looking at the life of Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people and the man who is held up as a great example of faith in God.
. In this scripture, we again see Abraham not placing his trust in God in his encounter with Abimelech the King of Gerar.
. Back in chapter 12, we saw Abraham lie to Pharaoh, the King of Egypt about his wife Sarah. Obviously Sarah was a looker because it seems that everywhere they went, the men desired her. He told Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister. Technically that was correct because Sarah was his half sister. Regardless of that, that was an awful thing to do to your wife. God delivered them through that and you would think that Abraham had learned his lesson. NOT
.This episode with Abimelech makes Abraham a repeat offender. Abraham has been in this situation before and has failed before. Perhaps you can identify with Abraham here because the same struggles and the same failures keep turning up in your own life, even long after you may have believed they were gone or overcome.
.When you’re in a situation like this you may wonder how God will respond to your repeated failures. You may doubt God’s love for you and expect to be pulled from the game or even kicked off the team because of your spiritual strikeouts.
. I’ve got good news for you and me because we see from this story how God really responds when we strikeout. When we fail. He responds with grace!
. First thing we see when we fail or strike out is this:
. God Still Forgives Us
.Look at verses 1&2 with me.
1Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner,
2Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace.
. We see the sin. Abimelech was a powerful King and Abraham was afraid of him and did not trust God to care and protect him. God had made all these promises to Abraham and obviously Abraham was still doubtful that God would protect him and keep him safe at least until He had fulfilled all the promises He had made to him.