Movies typically present people in black and white terms – the “good guys” and the “bad guys”.
Abraham is the presented as the paradigm of righteousness in Genesis 15 – the “good guy” – but that is not the picture we get in Genesis 20. In Genesis 20 we observe the actions and character of two very different men, Abraham and Abimelek; one who seems to act in a scheming, deceitful, unfaithful, selfish way. He treats is wife poorly, and seems driven by concern for his own welfare even to the detriment of his wife. He tries to blame God for his actions and repeats his sin. The other man, whilst a pagan, acts with a “clear conscience and clean hands”. He is kept by God from sinning, and listens to Him, responding with generosity and even makes retribution for the “innocent” mistake that he had made. Paradoxically, it is God’s man who acts so poorly, whilst the one who allegedly doesn’t fear God is the one who seeks to do right!
What important truths can we learn from Genesis 20?
- Believers do sin.
- Sin has consequences
- Lack of faith results in fear and sin
- Faith in God means we need not fear men
Jesus instructed His disciples,
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28)
Abraham acted our of fear of men. But we who are God’s people need have no such fear – for God is sovereign and He has given us His promises. Our call is to trust in Him.
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Mt 10:31-32)