Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he replied, "Lord, would You destroy a nation even though it is innocent?
I. ROOT OF HIS FAULT - UNBELIEF; want of all-embracing trust. His faith was real and vigorous (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12), but partial (cf. Genesis 27:19; Matthew 14:28). Shrank from trusting God fully. Turned to human devices, and thus turned out of the way (Proverbs 3:5). Partial distrust may be found even where real faith. A very common instance is trusting in God for spiritual blessings only. A large part of our actions, especially in little things, springs not from conscious decision, but from habitual modes of thought and feeling. We act instinctively, according to what is the natural drift of thought. Abraham had so dwelt on the danger that he forgot the help at hand (Psalm 34:7; Romans 8:28). Bold in action, his faith failed when danger threatened. To endure is a greater trial of faith than to do. To stand firm amid secularizing influences, ridicule, misconstruction is harder than to do some great thing. St. Peter was ready to fight for his Master, but failed to endure (Mark 14:50-71; Galatians 2:12). So to St. Paul's "What wilt thou have me to do?" the Lord's word was, "I will show him how great things he must suffer."
II. FORM OF HIS FAULT - UNTRUTH. Contrary to the mind of Christ. May be without direct statement of untruth. May be by true words so used as to convey a wrong idea; by pretences, e. g. taking credit unduly for any possession or power; by being ashamed to admit our motives; or by untruth in the spiritual life, making unreal professions in prayer, or self-deceiving. Every day brings numberless trials. These can be resisted only by the habit of truthfulness, gained by cultivating "truth in the inward parts," aiming at entire truthfulness. Nothing unpractical in this. May be said, Mast I tell all my thoughts to every one? Not so. Many things we have no right to speak; e.g. things told in confidence, or what would give unnecessary pain. Concealment when it is right is not untruth. No doubt questions of difficulty may arise. Hence rules of casuistry. But a Christian should be guided by principles rather than by rules (Galatians 5:1); and wisdom to apply these rightly is to be gained by studying the character of Christ, and prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance (Luke 11:13; John 16:14). - M.
So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech.
I. BECAUSE FAITH WAS MAINTAINED NOTWITHSTANDING PAST FAILURES. Persevering faith, which is superior to all discouragements, must be rewarded.
II. BECAUSE THE OBJECTS OF IT WERE DISPOSED TO RECEIVE THE BLESSING. The hindrances to the gracious effects of prayer lie in man's rebellious heart. There must be a Godward direction imparted to souls which are to be blest. God meets those who are looking towards Him. Abimelech and his household had this receptivity.
III. BECAUSE GOD DELIGHTS TO PUT HONOUR UPON HIS SERVANTS. God had entered into covenant with Abraham. He was God's prophet and faithful friend. God will set His visible marks of approval upon His own appointed means of blessing. Learn the importance of the prophet to mankind.
1. He makes known the will of God. He is a messenger who has received instructions from the Supreme Ruler of all mankind.
2. He is the human channel of spiritual blessings. He teaches men the way of righteousness, how they may find the chief good and reach true blessedness.
(T. H. Leate.).
PeopleAbimelech, Abraham, Sarah
PlacesGerar, Kadesh-barnea, Negeb, Shur Desert
TopicsAbimelech, Abim'elech, Approached, Blameless, Death, Destroy, Drawn, Innocent, Kill, Nation, Righteous, Slay, Though, Upright, Wilt
Outline1. Abraham sojourns at Gerar.
2. Denies his wife, who is taken by Abimelech.
3. Abimelech is reproved for her in a dream.
9. He rebukes Abraham.
14. Restores Sarah;
16. and reproves her.
17. Abimelech and his family are healed at Abraham's prayer.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 20:4
1020 God, all-knowing
5076 Abraham, life of
LibraryThe Sick Person Ought Now to Send for Some Godly and Religious Pastor.
In any wise remember, if conveniently it may be, to send for some godly and religious pastor, not only to pray for thee at thy death--for God in such a case hath promised to hear the prayers of the righteous prophets, and elders of the church (Gen. xx. 7; Jer. xviii. 20; xv. 1; 1 Sam. xii. 19, 23; James v. 14, 15, 16)--but also upon thy unfeigned repentance to declare to thee the absolution of thy sins. For as Christ hath given him a calling to baptize thee unto repentance for the remission of thy …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
Ascalon. Gerar. The Story of the Eighty Witches.
Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
And to Holy David Indeed it Might More Justly be Said...
The Interpretation of the Early Narratives of the Old Testament
Meditations against Despair, or Doubting of God's Mercy.
Annunciation to Joseph of the Birth of Jesus.
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