Thursday, January 20, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 20

What a wonderful reminder we have in this chapter of everyone's propensity to drop their eyes from the eternal to the earthly. An old habit was at that root of this eye-slip (verse 13).  Sometimes the things we have relied on in the past (even when they didn't work then), slide back into our days.  Everything must constantly be evaluated in the light of God's truths--especially old habits!  There may be other factors in this sad slip, too.  Abraham had moved south--a bit closer to Egypt (which is often equated with the world in scripture), and some commentators suggest that Abimelech sought Sarah as a political alliance rather than for her beauty.  Perhaps Abraham was turning to the world for security--even though he had just seen the results at Sodom.  What a joy to know God goes ahead of us and behind us we walk with Him...He assures the completion of His purposes despite our fallibility!

The most beautiful reminder in this chapter is that God is always faithful--even when we are not!  God protected Sarah in Abimelech's household and Abraham even received material blessings as this event closes out.  Our failures are opportunities to grow and be cleansed at ever deeper levels.  The embarrassment of having a 'pagan' king remind you of the right way is nothing compared to growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord.  The material blessings were (are) nothing compared to the deeper penetration of God's truths!

One other thing jumped out at me in this chapter.  We are often quick to criticize leaders and judge them for their failures--using their lapses as justification for our own sin.  Although God acknowledges Abimilech's clear conscience, He clearly held Abimilech accountable for having taken Sarah.  Also, while God restrained Abimilech's actions, he did not eliminate the consequences of Abraham's sin until the situation was resolved.  Our sins cost others; yet others' errors are never an excuse for our own.  It's important, too, that God held Abraham accountable to pray for Abimilech and restore his household.  We are all called to a ministry of reconciliation--restoring relationship with others is the key to drawing people to Jesus. Reconciliation with others involves honest communication that is often painful, costly and humbling but oh, so worth it!

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