January 24, 2023
We can trust God when we don't know how things will turn out.
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech 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."
1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech 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, “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 against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man's wife, 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 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, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, 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 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, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 Then Abimelech 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, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all 1 20:16 Hebrew It is a covering of eyes for all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.” 17 Then 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 had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.
In this passage, we see that God can and will bring the truth to light (Genesis 20:2-3) as he did for Abimelech through a dream. This dream brought truth to the lie Abraham had told—that Sarah was his sister, not his wife. Abraham did not trust God's provision and acted apart from His commands.
God values honesty and truth; and we see that Abraham, one of the greats in the faith whom God personally chose, failed in this area! For me personally, it is encouraging to know that although Abraham sinned against God by deceiving others to protect himself, God kept His promises and protected Abraham according to His covenant. God also spared Abimelech by keeping him from sinning because he had a clear conscience and had not acted out of falsehood.
We learned that even Abraham, God's chosen father of many nations who is in the bloodline of Jesus, lied not only once but now a second time about the same thing (Genesis 12:13). Sanctification, the process of becoming more like Christ, doesn't come with age, but requires a willingness to obey and heed the truth of the Spirit. We see Abraham try to justify his wrongdoing (Genesis 20:11-12), even though he knows that it was not true and that he had preplanned this deceit with Sarah. This is a temptation we as Christians face daily: to mislead or not tell the whole truth, to try to look better, or to avoid conflict. We have a choice, and, with the help of God, we can choose to trust Him and be honest.
This passage illustrates that the truth is always right, God will provide, and we can trust Him. We can be encouraged that, although we make mistakes, God will still provide. God is faithful even when we are not. He is patient with us as He was with Abraham, still blessing him despite his shortcomings. We can recognize that no matter our best justification, we should strive to have a clear conscience toward both God and man (Acts 24:16).
This month's memory verse
We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
1. Is there ever a time when a "white" lie is appropriate? Can you think of a time when you told a "white" lie and it led to chaos?
2. Can you think of a time when it was difficult to tell the truth but the truth led to healing and restoration?
3. How have you seen God's provision in your life despite your efforts to work things out for yourself without regard to His commands?
4. How do you feel when you don't tell the whole truth about a situation to a neighbor or coworker?
5. How do you feel when you finally tell the truth or handle a difficult situation honestly?