A study of Genesis 20.
1. In a life of faith, God leads us into unknown, risky places. When we lack courage to fully embrace the situation, we create the worst of both worlds: partly living a life of faith, and partly trying to retain control.
This lack of courage can lead to horrible decisions. Even after entering into a covenant with God, and adopting a new name, Abraham still doubted God’s protection. He leaned on a half-truth, that Sarah was his sister, to avoid a possible confrontation with the local ruler. (Genesis 20:2)
2. Abraham’s attempt to manipulate the situation ended up putting others in danger. Abimelech, an innocent character in the drama, was almost the unwitting participant in adultery. It’s bad when God says to you, “You’re as good as dead,” and punishes your household. (v. 3, 18)
3. Abimelech, having done nothing wrong and confident in his integrity, argued with God. (v. 4-7) He talked about the situation with God. This is remarkable. Abraham is God’s hand-picked prophet, and God is Abraham’s god, but the foreign king is the one with the moral high ground. The king even came back to Abraham and grilled him: “What were you thinking?!” (v. 10)
4. The result of this interchange is that Abraham, in spite of his poor decision, is blessed. He received an abundance of wealth from the foreign king, who said, “My land is here available to you.” In spite of Abraham’s loss of faith, God provided for him through the good character of the king. (v. 14-16)
5. Abraham continues to receive the blessing of his decision to follow God’s call. He temporarily lost faith, but overall he made life-changing decisions based on faith. God protected Abraham in spite of Abraham’s moral lapse because of their covenant relationship.