PATHS In Bible Chapters

Genesis 20
Theme: Relapse And Restoration
Key Text: Verse 1


            Abraham’s faith was in a perfect God, but his faith was not perfect. Since he had left Ur of the Chaldees, his faith had grown “exceedingly” (2 Thes. 1:3). There were times when he had definitely been “strong in faith” (Rom. 4:20). Yet, like every maturing believer, there were still areas “lacking” in Abraham’s faith ­– areas that needed perfecting (see 1 Thes. 3:10). Through his failures, however, one of which is very visible in this portion, God strengthened, developed, and moved him from “faith to faith” (Rom. 1:17) – from one sphere of faith to greater ones.


1. A Bad Move
            Why Abraham “journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar” (20:1) is not clear. Perhaps, the recent crisis in Sodom and Gomorrah had something to do with it. Maybe he was disturbed over the tragic outcome of Lot. Whatever the cause, he made his move with no apparent word from God. After almost twenty years of enjoying the will of God, he unexpectedly removed himself from the land of promise and blessing. And, his excursion took him farther south than he had been before, even into Philistine territory. Without question, it was a bad move, a venture away from spirituality.


2. A Big Mistake
            This aspect of Abraham’s life reminds us that, “Great men are not always wise” (Job 32:9). He misrepresented, and in another sense, denied his marital relationship, saying of Sarah, “She is my sister” (20:2). This lie, or half-truth, for Sarah was actually his half-sister (20:12), became a significant blunder. Abimelech, the king of Gerar, who took Sarah for his own selfish purposes, almost lost his life (see 20:3-7). And, in the end, Abraham had to be rebuked by the king, or you might say, by the world (see 20:16). Perhaps, the fact that the patriarch was reverting back to his former ways (see 12:13) makes this an even bigger mistake.


3. A Blessed Moment
            Abraham had journeyed in unbelief and had failed miserably. Yet, in a moment, when he looked away from himself unto the Lord, he was restored! Even when he erred, God claimed him as His “prophet,” His own spokesman (20:7). Now, in restoration of faith, he experiences acceptance and blessing in his priestly functions. As he “prayed unto God . . . God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife” (20:17, 18). And, no doubt, this miracle would prepare him for the miraculous events of the near future.


            Several years ago, my father and I were in a bad car accident. Miraculously, we were spared of any physical injuries, but the car was quite another story. We were certain that the insurance company would say it was totally irreparable. However, it was taken to a paint and body shop and worked on for several weeks. When I saw it for the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The car looked better than it did before the wreck. Oh, dear friend, don’t give up because of your failures! God is in the business of restoring His people for further service. Look to Him for restoring grace today!