Week 3: Day 5
“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’ And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.” Genesis 20:2
Abimelech: The Covenant Threatened through Abraham’s Sin
The drama of the story, then, focuses on the promise of offspring, but the promise that Abraham will have children becomes a reality only through conflict (3:15). Indeed, the promise of children was threatened when Sarah was included in the harems of Pharaoh (12:10-20) and Abimelech (20:1-18). Abraham could not have children if his wife no longer belonged to him!114 The narrative does not focus upon Abraham’s cowardice and fear in lying about his wife, though certainly he failed to do what God commanded in these instances.115 Instead, it emphasizes God’s dramatic intervention for Abraham’s sake, showing that nothing will prevent the Lord from fulfilling his promise.116 God brought a plague upon Pharaoh’s house until Pharaoh realized that he had Abraham’s wife and returned her to Abraham (12:17-20). Similarly, God threatened in a dream to kill Abimelech because he had taken Sarah (20:3), and as a result Abimelech returned her to Abraham. Nothing can thwart God’s fulfillment of his promises—neither Abraham’s failures of faith nor the opposition of unbelieving kings.
Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2013), 20. Used by permission. (See also 114Rendtorff, Canonical Hebrew Bible, 25)
Connection with Newer Testament
For the Kids:
In a quiet moment, ask a child to share a time when they felt like they let God down. Then, challenge him or her by asking if he or she thinks God’s plan was stopped in any way by his or her sin. Nothing he or she can do will prevent God’s will from being carried out, and God can and will use our bad circumstances to fulfill his plan. Thank the Lord for the beautiful things he’s made out of our lives despite our sin.
1. Praise God that the fulfillment of his promises is not forfeited due to our failures. His promises come to pass because of his sovereign faithfulness in spite of our faithlessness.
2. Glory in the sovereignty of God. He works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes. He turned Abraham’s sin into riches. He turned Joseph’s slavery into salvation for Israel. He turned Jesus’ murder into our salvation. Evil doesn’t thwart God’s plan because God is sovereign.