God Saves Us from Ourselves

God Saves Us from Ourselves

Genesis 20:17 – Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children.

In the last devo, we saw in Genesis 20 how Abraham made the same foolish mistake as earlier in the book by, once again, trying to give his wife Sarah away. God shows up to the godless Abimelech, who certainly appears to have a better moral compass than Abraham, which is more evidence that Abraham was saved by God’s grace and not his great works.

The poor Abimelech who has been lied to and tricked, asked Abraham why he had lied to him and put him in harm’s way with God. Abraham said he feared that Abimelech might harm him to take Sarah and so he sought to protect himself in unbelief rather than trusting for God to protect him, as God had promised and demonstrated previously. In a selfish admission, when it came down to the suffering of himself or his wife, Abraham was willing to cause his wife harm to avoid his own. Abraham then tried to weasel his way out of an embarrassing situation by telling a half-truth that sounded more like Adam’s likewise lame excuse for sin instead of simple repentance.

Amazingly, Abimelech was a kind man as he blessed Abraham, giving him sheep, cattle and slaves. He also invited Abraham to live wherever he pleased on Abimelech’s vast land. To top it off, Abimelech also gave Abraham 1,000 shekels of silver, which is around 25 pounds. Today, that would be somewhere north of $6 million in silver.

Then, as God promised, Abraham prayed to God. We then read that God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his slave girls so that they could again conceive children. Apparently, God had closed the womb of every woman in Abimelech’s household as a consequence and warning for Abimelech having taken Sarah.

The point of this story is to again show that the fulfillment of God’s promise was accomplished solely by God’s sovereign and gracious provision. Up to this point in Genesis, God has repeatedly told Abraham that his son would come through his wife Sarah. Yet, for the second time Abraham essentially gave her away to marry another man. Abraham nearly lost both his wife and his promised son! And, yet again, God had to fix Abraham’s mess, prevent Sarah from sleeping with another man, and return Sarah to Abraham so that they could have the son of the promise to fulfill God’s covenant with them and all nations of the earth.

If Abraham’s plan succeeded, Jesus Christ could not enter into human history through the promised family line of Abraham and Sarah, which just goes to show that one sin can alter history, as it already had with Adam. Simply, God is faithful to accomplish His promises, even when his sinful people complicate his plans through disobedience. Often, He has to save us from ourselves.

Why is it so important that Christians not only concern themselves with their well-being, but also their witness to others who do not yet know God?

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Mark Driscoll
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