This sermon is based on Genesis 20:1-18. Click here to read the text.
Last we saw Abraham he was overlooking the smoke rising from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He had prayed and pleaded for these cities, yet they were reduced to cinder and ash. God has made and kept a promise of destruction and shown himself righteous, faithful and fearful. Abraham relocates to Gerar where he proceeds to faithlessly present Sarah as his sister in order to spare his own life (v 11). King Abimelech collects her for his harem (v 2). Abraham has directly placed God’s promise of a son in jeopardy – and along with it: Sarah, Abimelech, Abimelech’s people and the world (you & I) who through Abraham were supposed to be blessed.
Abraham and Abimelech shared a mutual fear – of one another. Abraham recognized Abimelech as one who had the power to take away his life. Abraham would rather live. Abimelech recognizes in Abraham a potential threat on his life as he knows it as well. If Abraham is an enemy it could be costly. If he is a friend it will be a gain for Abimelech. Rather than war, Abimelech prefers a treaty. And what better treaty than one by marriage?
Only he unknowingly takes an already married woman, and in doing so unknowingly affronts the righteous, faithful, fearful God of Abraham. And Abimelech is very soon made afraid for his life (v 3, 7).
However, God extricates Sarah before she is compromised, restores Abimelech and his people to health, and despite Abraham’s faithlessness, keeps him in place as intercessor and thereby remains set to keep His promise not only to Abraham and Sarah, but every nation on earth that they would be blessed through them and escape the same, well-deserved, fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Discuss and Pray – Genesis 20:1-18
- Why is it so hard for us to trust God sometimes, even though we know he is faithful? Why is it so easy to trust ourselves sometimes, even though we know we are often proven faithless?
- How do you think the same God can promise both destruction (Sodom and Gomorrah) and blessing (the promised seed: Isaac) ? Is he actually twofaced/divided/inconsistent?
- God positions Abraham as both Lot’s and Abimelech’s intercessor. God postions Jesus as the Christian’s intercessor. Why do you think is it so necessary to God that we have an intercessor between us and Him? Conversely, why do you think it is so necessary to us that we have an intercessor between us and God?
- What significance, if any, do you see in the fact that Abraham is sovereignly directed to pray for Sodom and Gomorrah and the heathen king Abimelech? Does this have any bearing on the Christian’s prayer life? If so, how?
- The book of Matthew ends with Jesus’ words, “Behold I am with you always.” Does this bring you comfort or fear? Why?