I think for most people like me, when they read this chapter, its déjà vu for them. We think that we have read this story before but then when we flip a couple of pages back to chapter 12 and we realize that “oh that was with a different king”. Its almost the same story with a different setting, different king, different circumstances, different time period but the same old Abraham.
After experiencing close communion with God (Chapter 18) and seeing the destruction of the twin cities (Chapter 19), one would assume that Abraham would definitely be closer to God than ever before. But he was in fact back to his old ways. Moving to a land without God’s leading, we don’t see him building any altars or even praying to God, giving Sarah to be married to the ruler of that land by letting everyone believe they are siblings again and in the end profiting off of the ruler’s guilt, again!
That perhaps describes our walk with Jesus how we take one step forward and quickly take two steps back.
God punishes Abhimelek by closing the wombs of the women of his household when it was Abraham who led him to believe that Sarah was available for marriage.
Abraham is called a prophet in this chapter and he intercedes for Abimelek. This is the first recorded intercessory prayer that takes place here is much like the one that takes place during Sunday service in our churches. But over here Abraham is praying for a mess that he had caused in Abimelek’s life. So basically just like the intercessory prayer in our churches.
God restored fertility among the women of Abimelek’s household but Sarah was still barren. The wife of the prophet, whose prayer healed the women of Abimelek’s household, but she herself still did not have a son. That would have been an important lesson for Sarah and Abraham who saw how God restored the fertility of those women and would have surely wondered why they had been made to wait so long.
Hoping that we find the answer to that question today as we read discuss this chapter
Questions Discussed in this Podcast –
V1 Abraham moved to Egypt because of the famine. What is the purpose of moving to Gerar?
V3 God intervenes both times when Sarah was taken away by Pharoah and Abhimelech, but did not intervene when Sarah’s servant Hagar was given to Abraham. Why so?
V6 God says, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me.” Can we not sin unintentionally?
V12 Abraham again lies about Sarah being his half-sister but this is not mentioned in Genesis 11 so Why is Abraham lying here again?
V18 Why is God speaking to Abimelek? Why is God punishing Abimelek for Abraham’s lie?
Abraham says that there was no fear of the Lord amongst the people of Gerar. But seems like he is the one who did not fear God that even after God created a covenant with him (Thrice), helped him defeat the alliance of the four kings, assured him a son though Sarah, appeared in flesh before him and even saved his nephew Lot, Abraham still chooses the same old path to gain wealth. Why do we not learn from our mistakes and keep succumbing to temptation?