January 24, 2023

Truth will always come to light.

Genesis 20

Elyse Burkert
Tuesday's Devo

January 24, 2023

Tuesday's Devo

January 24, 2023

Big Idea

We can trust God when we don't know how things will turn out.

Key Verse | Genesis 20:2-3

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."

Genesis 20

Abraham and Abimelech

From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 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.” Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 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.” 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. 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.”

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. 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.


[1] 20:16 Hebrew It is a covering of eyes for all

S2:017 Genesis 20

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Dive Deeper | Genesis 20

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.

– John 1:45b

Discussion Questions

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?

Respond to Today's Passage

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Hugh Stephenson

GM Elyse! Thanks for a great devo and good questions. Q1. In my “old life” I told white lies and other lies of more colors than Joseph’s coat. A few have gone undiscovered. Or forgotten by me. The other ones all came back to hurt me in one way or another. Many have been dealt with via my re:gen amends in Step 9. A few are still out there in unanswered letters and emails. I wish could have 100% of them back. Q2. Speaking of 100%…. Every time I stood up and told the truth I experienced the opposite of Q1. Q3. Oh boy. Not enough words left for this one. I’ll say this- God’s will and love is like a current that is so strong that even if I swim against it for awhile, sooner or later it takes me right back to where He wants me to be.

Hugh Stephenson

Q4. Like I swallowed rat poison. Q5. Like I never swallowed it. --------------------- This is another amazing passage with all kinds of contrasts: prior deeds v currents deeds, pagan behaviors v believer behaviors, Pharaoh v Abimelech, marital purity v impurity etc. Most importantly, my choice versus God’s sovereignty. Guess who wins. What I think God wants me to see is that He will be faithful to His promises regardless of the lack of faith by Abraham, me, or anyone else.

Hugh Stephenson

Constable edifies- “This incident shows and contrasts God's faithfulness to Abraham and Abraham's unfaithfulness to God (cf. 2 Timothy 2:13). God's chosen ones cannot destroy His ultimate plans for them by failing. Abraham learned that Yahweh will maintain His covenant and fulfill His promises, in spite of the opposition and interference of influential and powerful individuals.” “Abraham stopped asking 'What is right?' and began asking 'What is safe?' and this led to his downfall." This is very good news. It comes under the heading, “Hugh can’t screw up Gods plan for him or for his children.” Regardless of my faithfulness or lack thereof God’s plan and purpose will prevail. Even so, I embrace all His 7,487 promises for me. I pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit I can be faithful in all circumstances.

Chris Landry

Thanks for the Devo, Elyse! Abraham twists the truth again. But why? Hugh’s reference to Constable’s notes is 💰! “Abraham stopped asking 'What is right?' and began asking 'What is safe?' and this led to his downfall." When we begin to self protect instead of follow Jesus we can get in a big ol’ mess. I strongly believe that my closest relationships will see the best and worst of me. They will see me self-protect and conflict will be borne out of that. Conversely, they’ll see me come around - Lord willing - and ask for forgiveness for putting my needs first. It’s not God’s design that I look for safety while sacrificing righteousness. It’s just that I am broken and a definite work-in-progress (Philippians 1:6). What I suggest that we are really on the hunt for isn’t safety, but the embrace of a God that knows us, loves us, and accepts us. Matthew 11:28 speaks of a “rest” we so desperately crave. From that place of embrace and rest, all types of abundant life can be borne. So I’ll try to feel His embrace and rest today as I lean away from self-protecting (root sin: pride) at the expense others. PS: from Genesis 20:6, it’s also very comforting and restful to know that I can’t thwart God’s ultimate plan. He’s still sovereign. Always. Then and Now and Tomorrow.

Michael Scaman

We sometimes see God call a person suffering or waiting for something to pray for someone else In the deepest part of his suffering, God's suffering servant Job was told to pray for his friends then God raised him up. After almost 25 years of waiting for the promised child, Abraham prays for the wives of a Philistine ruler Abimelech (My father is King) and then God will provide the promised child Isaac.

Michael Scaman

Abraham was wrong about a few things. In addition to the half truth which his child Isaac will also do the same in the future with his wife and a future Abimelech, but Abraham said there is no fear of God in this place' There was more than he realized. God was restraining even the king "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."

Michael Scaman

God promised a child and a legacy and the seed to bless all families on earth. In the normal course of events these stories remind us if it wasn't for God, Sarah would be taken from Abraham, Esau would probably harm Jacob, Jacobs wives would have strife leading to generational strife. God still was faithful to His promises.

Sue Bohlin

Thank you, Elyse. I’ve read for years that Abraham claimed twice that Sarah was his sister, but today was the first time I noticed that this second incident follows the Lord’s promise that within a year, the seriously post-menopausal Sarah would bear a miracle baby. Looks like the Lord allowed Abraham (and Sarah) to circle back to the same point of an earlier failure to trust Him, for a divine do-over. Aaaaaaaaand they failed again. They both lied. (But the Lord was gracious in His promise-keeping, as we’ll see in the next chapter.) In walking with the Lord almost 50 years, I have discovered that He also gives ME opportunities for divine do-overs, where I find myself at the same point where I got off track before (and, like Abraham, it comes down to trusting Him or not. Or how much.) Lord, open our eyes to see your divine do-overs!

Amy Lowther

1. No. Nothing comes to mind at this time. 2. In high school, I was scared to get my driver’s license. I thought I would fail. I lived with the wrong parents so they didn’t care. Nearly college graduation, coworkers decided to help me learn how to drive. I graduated with a degree and a driver’s license. It helped me have opportunities to meet my birth parents with whom I coexist today. 3. I have seen God’s provisions present when I greeted multiple kids walking with their parents as one family cooperatively and peacefully into Watermark to their activities. 4. When I don’t give complete information, I feel bad. 5. Good