God’s investigation of Sodom found that the outcry He heard was all too true, and He destroyed the city and everyone in it, except for Lot and his family. Sadly, Lot’s wife met her doom when she just had to look back and became a pillar of salt. Afterwards, Lot had some trouble with his daughters… and his troubles and travails continued. Of course, it’s hard to forget the choices Lot made a few chapters back.
Abraham and his clan moved on to Gerar and made a mistake or two…
Abimelek was the king of Gerar, and for whatever reason, Abraham told Sarah they were going to try the old “she’s my sister” trick again. Once again, she was taken into the household of a pagan king, and this time God intervenes quickly in the form of a dream with Abimelek:
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” (20:3).
In the dream God told the king to return Sarah to her husband unmolested, which he did.
Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
For the second time Abraham has been found out and stands in shame before a pagan king, and this time, he makes the situation worse…
Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’” (20:11-13)
It looks to me like there is more “fear of the Lord” in this pagan court than there is within Abraham at that moment; everything he has just said makes him look worse− what will become of him now?
Abimelek showed Abraham and Sarah a great deal more courtesy and respect than either deserved in 20:11-16 and I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure he did so out of “fear of the Lord”. God healed everyone He had prevented from conception, and the scene ends, leaving me in wonder and amazement; what was Abraham thinking?
Whatever it was, once again God showed His faithfulness to all concerned, after all, Abraham was His covenant partner and Abimelek was an innocent party… and we have another message of hope for Christmas. No matter how we might wander from wisdom and good judgment from time to time, God remembers His promises, and works things out for His covenant partners. While I don’t think I’ve ever known a Christ follower who has erred quite like this, we all mess up, and I find comfort in this story.
How about you?