Abraham and Abimelech 20 1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between p Kadesh and Shur; and he q sojourned in r Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, s “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 t But God came to Abimelech u in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, v “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning w against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, x for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you y and all who are yours.” 8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, z ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and a they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, b she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 And when c God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, d say of me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 Then Abimelech e took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “Behold, f my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given g your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is h a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all 1 who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.” 17 Then i Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18 For the Lord j had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
20 1 וַיִּסַּ֨ע מִשָּׁ֤ם אַבְרָהָם֙ אַ֣רְצָה הַנֶּ֔גֶב וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב בֵּין ־ קָדֵ֖שׁ וּבֵ֣ין שׁ֑וּר וַיָּ֖גָר בִּגְרָֽר ׃ 2 וַיֹּ֧אמֶר אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶל ־ שָׂרָ֥ה אִשְׁתּ֖וֹ אֲחֹ֣תִי הִ֑וא וַיִּשְׁלַ֗ח אֲבִימֶ֙לֶךְ֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ גְּרָ֔ר וַיִּקַּ֖ח אֶת ־ שָׂרָֽה ׃ 3 וַיָּבֹ֧א אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶל ־ אֲבִימֶ֖לֶךְ בַּחֲל֣וֹם הַלָּ֑יְלָה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ הִנְּךָ֥ מֵת֙ עַל ־ הָאִשָּׁ֣ה אֲשֶׁר ־ לָקַ֔חְתָּ וְהִ֖וא בְּעֻ֥לַת בָּֽעַל ׃ 4 וַאֲבִימֶ֕לֶךְ לֹ֥א קָרַ֖ב אֵלֶ֑יהָ וַיֹּאמַ֕ר אֲדֹנָ֕י הֲג֥וֹי גַּם ־ צַדִּ֖יק תַּהֲרֹֽג ׃ 5 הֲלֹ֨א ה֤וּא אָֽמַר ־ לִי֙ אֲחֹ֣תִי הִ֔וא וְהִֽיא ־ גַם ־ הִ֥וא אָֽמְרָ֖ה אָחִ֣י ה֑וּא בְּתָם ־ לְבָבִ֛י וּבְנִקְיֹ֥ן כַּפַּ֖י עָשִׂ֥יתִי זֹֽאת ׃ 6 וַיֹּאמֶר֩ אֵלָ֨יו הָֽאֱלֹהִ֜ים בַּחֲלֹ֗ם גַּ֣ם אָנֹכִ֤י יָדַ֙עְתִּי֙ כִּ֤י בְתָם ־ לְבָבְךָ֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ זֹּ֔את וָאֶחְשֹׂ֧ךְ גַּם ־ אָנֹכִ֛י אֽוֹתְךָ֖ מֵחֲטוֹ ־ לִ֑י עַל ־ כֵּ֥ן לֹא ־ נְתַתִּ֖יךָ לִנְגֹּ֥עַ אֵלֶֽיהָ ׃ 7 וְעַתָּ֗ה הָשֵׁ֤ב אֵֽשֶׁת ־ הָאִישׁ֙ כִּֽי ־ נָבִ֣יא ה֔וּא וְיִתְפַּלֵּ֥ל בַּֽעַדְךָ֖ וֶֽחְיֵ֑ה וְאִם ־ אֵֽינְךָ֣ מֵשִׁ֗יב דַּ֚ע כִּי ־ מ֣וֹת תָּמ֔וּת אַתָּ֖ה וְכָל ־ אֲשֶׁר ־ לָֽךְ ׃ 8 וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם אֲבִימֶ֜לֶךְ בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַיִּקְרָא֙ לְכָל ־ עֲבָדָ֔יו וַיְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת ־ כָּל ־ הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה בְּאָזְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּֽירְא֥וּ הָאֲנָשִׁ֖ים מְאֹֽד ׃ 9 וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֲבִימֶ֜לֶךְ לְאַבְרָהָ֗ם וַיֹּ֨אמֶר ל֜וֹ מֶֽה ־ עָשִׂ֤יתָ לָּ֙נוּ֙ וּמֶֽה ־ חָטָ֣אתִי לָ֔ךְ כִּֽי ־ הֵבֵ֧אתָ עָלַ֛י וְעַל ־ מַמְלַכְתִּ֖י חֲטָאָ֣ה גְדֹלָ֑ה מַעֲשִׂים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא ־ יֵֽעָשׂ֔וּ עָשִׂ֖יתָ עִמָּדִֽי ׃ 10 וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֲבִימֶ֖לֶךְ אֶל ־ אַבְרָהָ֑ם מָ֣ה רָאִ֔יתָ כִּ֥י עָשִׂ֖יתָ אֶת ־ הַדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה ׃ 11 וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם כִּ֣י אָמַ֗רְתִּי רַ֚ק אֵין ־ יִרְאַ֣ת אֱלֹהִ֔ים בַּמָּק֖וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וַהֲרָג֖וּנִי עַל ־ דְּבַ֥ר אִשְׁתִּֽי ׃ 12 וְגַם ־ אָמְנָ֗ה אֲחֹתִ֤י בַת ־ אָבִי֙ הִ֔וא אַ֖ךְ לֹ֣א בַת ־ אִמִּ֑י וַתְּהִי ־ לִ֖י לְאִשָּֽׁה ׃ 13 וַיְהִ֞י כַּאֲשֶׁ֧ר הִתְע֣וּ אֹתִ֗י אֱלֹהִים֮ מִבֵּ֣ית אָבִי֒ וָאֹמַ֣ר לָ֔הּ זֶ֣ה חַסְדֵּ֔ךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשִׂ֖י עִמָּדִ֑י אֶ֤ל כָּל ־ הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָב֣וֹא שָׁ֔מָּה אִמְרִי ־ לִ֖י אָחִ֥י הֽוּא ׃ 14 וַיִּקַּ֨ח אֲבִימֶ֜לֶךְ צֹ֣אן וּבָקָ֗ר וַעֲבָדִים֙ וּשְׁפָחֹ֔ת וַיִּתֵּ֖ן לְאַבְרָהָ֑ם וַיָּ֣שֶׁב ל֔וֹ אֵ֖ת שָׂרָ֥ה אִשְׁתּֽוֹ ׃ 15 וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲבִימֶ֔לֶךְ הִנֵּ֥ה אַרְצִ֖י לְפָנֶ֑יךָ בַּטּ֥וֹב בְּעֵינֶ֖יךָ שֵֽׁב ׃ 16 וּלְשָׂרָ֣ה אָמַ֗ר הִנֵּ֨ה נָתַ֜תִּי אֶ֤לֶף כֶּ֙סֶף֙ לְאָחִ֔יךְ הִנֵּ֤ה הוּא ־ לָךְ֙ כְּס֣וּת עֵינַ֔יִם לְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתָּ֑ךְ וְאֵ֥ת כֹּ֖ל וְנֹכָֽחַת ׃ 17 וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל אַבְרָהָ֖ם אֶל ־ הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיִּרְפָּ֨א אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶת ־ אֲבִימֶ֧לֶךְ וְאֶת ־ אִשְׁתּ֛וֹ וְאַמְהֹתָ֖יו וַיֵּלֵֽדוּ ׃ 18 כִּֽי ־ עָצֹ֤ר עָצַר֙ יְהוָ֔ה בְּעַ֥ד כָּל ־ רֶ֖חֶם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבִימֶ֑לֶךְ עַל ־ דְּבַ֥ר שָׂרָ֖ה אֵ֥שֶׁת אַבְרָהָֽם ׃ ס
God protects and blesses Abraham and Sarah again Introduction : Faith, faithfulness, doubt etc. Strong faith is actually just about the faithfulness of the person or thing being trusted. Examples. Our problem is when we don't really know the person and their faithfulness. The process of learning; how slow we are. 'Once bitten, twice shy'? Or, the opposite. 1. God protects Abraham and Sarah, v1-7 God appears to Abimelech Remember the promises of Genesis 12? They are the 'backdrop' chord. Some affliction already on him and his household; cf those who dishonour you I will curse. 2. Abimelech honours and blesses them, v8-18 8-13 Abraham's cowardice: ' There is no fear of God at all in this place' - irony; he is the one not fearing God cf I will bless you: Abraham and Sarah receive honour, wealth, and land. Once again, Abraham ends up more blessed; now he receives land for the first time. cf those who honour you I will bless: Abimelech and his household are blessed because they honour Abraham and Sarah in the end 14-18 Abraham the mediator again. cf plagues, afflictions? Are they 'covenantal curses' or not? How should we understand them? Glory of God: His patient, faithful, relentless commitment to bless, protect, and vindicate according to his promise FCF: Unbelief. Fear and doubt, of today's fresh kind. Half-truths controlled by fear. Rather than by faith, since whatever is not of faith is sin. NB there are two ways to doubt, since doubting is always an expression of believing. -by nature: we wake up worrying and fearful, just 'naturally'. These kinds of half-truth justifications come to us without us having to work hard. -by choice: doubting that God will be God today and right now just as much as he was back then. Object permanence again. Irreligious doubt looks like mockery and skepticism; religious doubt often looks like extra rules, placed in order to avoid situations in life which we might have to navigate with risk, courage and faith. Rules which take us away from unbelievers and from difficult believers in order to simplify and control our life as disciples. 'Familiar' often equals doubt. Person of Jesus: the true Son, who lives in complete dependence on his Father. Even unto death, entrusting himself. Giving himself to the anger of the pharisees and the crowds. His constant prayer and dependence, as a human. He intercedes for us his people! cf John 17. Work of Jesus: In his death he shows the absolute extent of the faithfulness of God. Here is the final gift-provision to atone for the sins of his people. Here is the forgiveness for our unbelief! And in his resurrection-enthronement, the extent of God's faithfulness to provide a new creation, a new covenant. His very presence now before God as a human being is a constant intercession for his people. Union with Jesus: by the Spirit of God, I am in Jesus and he is in me. I have an unspeakably great inheritance in and with him. Specific repentance: We have died to unbelief since we see the love and faithfulness of God holding nothing at all back in the giving of his Son. Specific faith: We live to/in FAITH, courage, strength; hope and love. 'You of little faith' - yes, that's us! There's real faith here, and it is growing, and Jesus sees and notices and gently trains us. cf deliberately calling us out into the boat on a stormy night, so that he will walk past and train us. Questions: -Are there any half truths you tell which supposedly keep you out of harm's way? Justifications for fear-driven behaviours? -What is the lurking, scariest fear? Can you actually say it to yourself? Can you yield it to God in prayer? Do you believe he is big enough to know how to handle this? (egs money, awful things for our children, rejection and mockery) -I will never leave you, nor forsake you. Do you believe this? -Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Do you believe that? Keep a written list of answered prayers, small and large. A thankfulness jar in your home. 'Ebenezer' Wrap-up: Strong faith is actually just about the faithfulness of the person or thing being trusted. Examples. Our problem is when we don't really know the person and their faithfulness.