Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life Lessons From Biblical Characters | Abraham

Read Genesis 20

Old habits die hard.  You've heard that saying before, I'm sure. Today we are able to see that in the life of Abraham in this chapter. 

Before God changed his name, he and his troop had gone down into Egypt, and, out of fear, Abram had told Sarai to say that she was his sister.  God protected Sarai and caused Pharaoh not to touch her and to restore her to her husband.  Now, as Abraham and his troop are going through Gerar, he asks Sarah to do the same thing all over again.

There were two things that really stood out to me in this chapter. 1) As believers, there are times when we struggle with the same things that we did before, and 2) God will intervene on our behalf when we are about to innocently commit a major offence.

Abram and Abraham (the same man, but at two different stages of life) had to deal with fear.  What would happen if he said that Sarai/Sarah was his wife?  In each case, he was convinced that he would be killed for his wife's sake.  However, in the first incident, Abram saw how God had intervened and protected him and Sarai from Pharaoh, but now, as Abraham, he decided to do what he thought was best instead of relying on God to protect him.  He still did not have the son that God had promised to him, so based on that alone, he should have known that God would protect them from the king and his devices.

And yet, how many times do we see what God has done for us in the past, how God has protected, intervened, and led us, and we still are afraid to trust him in our present situation?

As a side note, Abraham had some nerve!  In verse 13, Abraham is explaining to Abimelech what made him say that Sarah was his sister. "And it came to pass that when God caused me to wander from my father's house that I said to her, 'This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.'"  What!  Seriously!  I don't even know where to start on how wrong this statement is on so many levels.  First, it sounds like he is blaming God for having him wander.  Then, he is expecting a kindness from Sarah.  The Bible says in the New Testament that she called him lord and respected Abraham as her husband.  That sounds pretty kind to me.  The Bible does say that Sarah was beautiful, so was he expecting this kindness from her because it wasn't his fault she was so beautiful that it caused a threat to his life?
After Abimelech, the king of Gerar, had taken Sarah, God came to him in a dream and told him that he was a dead man for taking another man's wife.  Abimelech responded that not only had he not gone near Sarah, but he had been told that she was Abraham's sister.  "In the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this."  And then I love God's answer to him.  "Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her."

Abimelech had been given faulty information.  He had taken Sarah in innocence, and because God had seen his heart and the fact that his actions were based on lies he had been told, God did not allow him to sin.  God is so good to intervene when we innocently make wrong decisions.  By the same token, we need to make sure that our hearts are sensitive to hear from Him so that He can stop us before we do wrong.  Abi,elech could have rolled over in bed, put a pillow over his head, and ignored what God was telling him.  Instead, he chose to listen to and talk with the Lord.

How quickly are we willing to tell others how they are supposed to respond to the Lord? But how willing are we to listen to God?  How willing are we to talk to Him?  How willing are we to trust Him?


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