BLESSINGS IN FAILURE
Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace.
Genesis 20:1-2 NLT
It is amazing that we seldom learn lessons the first time around. In Genesis 12 when Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt they lied about their relationship and yet God protected them. Now, years later, they do it again in the Promised Land in a small community of Gerar. In Genesis 18, Abraham had an amazing encounter with God and interceded for the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then a short time later Abraham seems to lose faith in God’s ability to protect him and Sarah. Maybe God wants us to see that the great “father of faith” was also very human. He had mountain top experiences with God and then other moments when He totally fell into the flesh of deception and human effort. A troubling part of the passage is that when Abraham lies about his wife, Abimelech takes her into his harem, and then Abimelech gets a dream of warning from God. Abimelech chooses to make it right and he rebukes Abraham for his deception. Then he blesses Abraham with silver, sheep, oxen, and servants. God is obviously very interested in keeping the union of Abraham and Sarah holy. God has chosen to bless them with a great nation and needs to be sure their union is pure. This should be a lesson to us that if we want to be a part of God’s plan and blessings, we need to separate ourselves from worldly corruption. Our participation in God’s promises demand separation from worldly corruption. Secondly, we learn that rarely are people purely holy or evil. Abraham is not perfect—which gives us all hope that God can use us in our imperfections. Abimelech, a Canaanite, is not all evil. While we tend to look at people, or groups of people, as good or bad rarely does that label fit. We are all human and until we arrive in our eternal home in heaven. We still can have our flesh trip us up. Our imperfections should never be an excuse to sin. We should strive to live our lives to please God in every area of our lives. When we do blow it, we should admit our failures and ask for help to change. Finally, in this chapter we must deal with God’s blessings even in Abraham’s failure. When I was a younger, I was sure that God only blesses us when we are perfect and judges us when we are imperfect. But in Genesis 20, God blesses Abraham when he is acting out of flesh instead of faith. God had a bigger picture to accomplish and was willing to forgive and continue to work with Abraham. The grace of God shows up for Abraham. Even in the Old Testament God’s grace is present working with fallen man. That grace is still working today for you and me. Let’s be quick to admit our failures and accept God’s grace. This grace is available for all of us.
Holy God I want to please You. I recognize I am imperfect, but I ask for Your help. Help me to be a person You can trust to bless and use to accomplish Your work in my world. Forgive my sin and empower me to walk in purity before You.
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