This is one of those chapters that you need to read before you assume you understand and know what really happened.
So stop here and read: Genesis 20
Abraham, what were you thinking when you told Abimelech that Sarah was your sister? Did you not learn from your foray into Egypt? If you have forgotten what Abraham did there you can find that story in the last half of Genesis 12. How often do we find ourselves doing another lap around the wilderness like the Israelites because we fail to learn from the first mistake and just keep repeating it? It is no wonder unbelievers call us hypocrites! Our walk and talk do not match. Maybe that is why God had the Israelites come to the Tabernacle at least 3 times a year to offer sacrifices. Those were visual reminders of men’s failure to walk circumspectly. We too need constant reminding to keep short accounts with God.
Abraham presumed that of which he only surmised when he said: “surely I thought no one fears God in this place.” Without firsthand knowledge he presumed. Because David saw that as his weakness he wrote: [Ps 19:13] “keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me;” There is a warning here that Abraham should have known but his fear for self-preservation was greater than his fear of God! Lesson learned: do not assume without facts. Fear God more than what man can do to you. Jesus reminded the disciples of this: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do.[Luk 12:4] Abraham said he believed God but his life revealed that he feared men more than God. Beware of this sin! The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. [Prov 29:25]
God was gracious to both Abraham and Abimelech but think of what could have been avoided had Abraham just trusted God! Fear God and trust Him only. God’s grace is getting good things we don’t deserve and that is what happened to Abraham. He deserved a scathing rebuke and more from Abimelech but instead, Abimelech merely scolded Abraham. How gracious was Abimelech to him! How gracious is our God to us!
Think about it~