Walls Torn Down

One of the most difficult obstacles for us in fulfilling God’s purpose is when devastating situations arise in our lives. Sometimes life seems so unfair, we wonder why God, why aren’t you doing something? Has this thought ever been a traveling companion of yours? At these difficult moments, we stand at a precipice, do we continue to trust God or go our own way. To trust God is to let go of our human desire to become bitter towards God, where we are unable to fulfill His divine purpose for our lives. Many believers today are on the sidelines, not fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives because they don’t know how to defeat despair. Defeating despair requires that we do four things: Remember, Refocus, Depend, Rely.

Remember God can do anything (Genesis 21:1-7). Abraham is now 100 years old and Sarah is 90. They have waited 25 years for a son, and finally, Sarah bears Abraham a son (21:2). God is always faithful, as stressed three times in the first two verses of this chapter: Genesis 21:1~The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. Genesis 21:2~And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. (ESV) He said, As He Promised, As Spoken. God was faithful in every detail of His promise, which reminds us of 1 Corinthians 1:9~God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (ESV) 

Listen how Abe immediately names him Genesis 21:3~Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. (ESV) Abe is again following God’s command from Genesis 17:19. To further show his obedience, Abe circumcises Isaac when he is 8 days old (Genesis 21:4). The name יִצְחָק Yitschaq means laughter, or he laughs which will remind Abe and Sarah, as well as all saints throughout history, how both Abe and Sarah laughed the year prior to יִצְחָק Yitschaq birth. (17:17; 18:12-13) Now Sarah says Genesis 21:6~And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” (EVS) Genesis 21:7~And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (ESV). God turns their laughter of disbelief into laughter of great joy. 

Let it be known

Beware sin has consequences. Hebrews 13:4~Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (NIV) This means marriage partners are to remain faithful and monogamous as long as they both live. It had to be the fear of God that Abimelech didn’t prescribe the beatdown Abe’s deserving of. Adding insult, Abe adjudicates himself by continuing down the slippery slope of sin, saying in Genesis 20:12~she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. (ESV) Abe rationalizes his sin and says he just didn’t tell the whole truth. Listen, a half-truth presented as the whole truth is a whole lie. Abe is lying by omission and Solomon shares God’s position on this in Proverbs 12:22~The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. (NIV)

Abe isn’t proving to be trusting or trustworthy. I believe that two things break down the home and society more than any other, they are sexual immorality and lying. The Lord hates these two sins because they bring so much hurt and harm to people He loves. To Abe’s credit, he does finally admit to drawing Sarah into his deception, when leaving his father’s house in Ur, though still pointing a finger at God. Genesis 20:13~And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, He is my brother. (ESV) This agreement was made between Abe and Sarah when they first left Ur and were truly spiritually immature. 

However, it’s 30 years later and they’re still struggling, God has proved Himself time and again to Abe and Sarah. They hold absolutely no excuse for this half-truth lie and sin. Their sin is compounded because it’s a premeditated reaction, which could even result in Sarah having sex with another man. Still to show there are no hard feelings, to honor the prophet of God, and because of Abe’s disgraceful but honest confession, Abimelech gives gifts to Abe of sheep, cattle, servants and a bag of silver, along with the unfettered access to the land to live where he chooses. 

With all his imperfections, the bottom line is, Abe confessed his sin with great shame. The Bible shares if we conceal our sins we’ll not prosper (Proverbs 28:13~Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (ESV)). However, when we confess our sins we can rely on God’s great promise to forgive. 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. (ESV) Much fruit born to glorify God. God never ignores sin, and He may use an Abimelech to expose and rebuke. 

Our Takeaway: Share your whole life with God. We’ve all made some pretty poor choices, but God still loves us and He wants to be involved and engaged in our daily lives. Wise people learn from mistakes, those they make and those of others. Learn from Abe and avoid the weight of Sin: by identifying weaknesses, registering the hurts of others, and beware of the consequences. Has the Lord revealed an area in your life today that needs some attention?

Who do you TRUST?

Our lives were created for fulfilling the purpose of God because of this, we never feel complete or satiated until we fully yield to the plan God has for our lives. Abe, why is trust so difficult? So, God comes to Abimelech in a dream and says in Genesis 20:3~Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife. (ESV) Ever asked, what’d I do? I believe God sometimes speaks to us in dreams or visions when we are asleep when our minds are not bound by the cares of life and we’re too busy to listen. You, like me, have probably gone to bed with a problem and awoken in the morning with the solution. Why not give God praise for the answers He provides.

Abimelech is a man of integrity and responds with reverence and concern by saying to the Lord: he said sister, how’s this on me? Abimelech was telling the truth: declaring with a clean conscience. This is the weight of sin. Our sin affects others. Doesn’t have to be drugs, alcohol, or second-hand smoke. Abe’s lie is about to cost a life. God even shares in verse 6 how He’s prevented them from a conjugal connection. God always guards His promises. Genesis 20:10~Abimelech said to Abraham, What did you see, that you did this thing? Abraham said I did it because I thought, there is no fear of God at all in this place…(ESV). So, Abe, you thought God was not God here, that He was not Lord over all? Is Jesus Christ Lord over all in your life? Many quickly answer yes, He is! Yet, like Abe, we put others in harm’s way by sinning and entangling them in our web as we weight them down. Saints, Jesus Christ is liberating and we must learn to register the hurts that our sin causes. The keys for eliminating sins that entangle our lives require us to understand the weight of sin: by Identifying our own weakness and propensities, that we register the hurt we cause others and beware the consequences.

Beware the consequences when we sin (Genesis 20:8-18). God will forgive our sins, but He will not shield us from all of the earthly consequences. This is found in the principle of reaping and sowing. If we plant roses we get roses but beware the bush that is baleful with thorns. As Abimelech shakes off his slumber, he summons his officials sharing his dream. Abe is his second call. Genesis 20:8~So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. (ESV) Genesis 20:9~Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done. (ESV) Even this pagan king has a high regard for marriage. Does that stand out to you? Pagans: People Against Good And Nice, see value in the institution of marriage and the fidelity of a sacred commitment. We live in a culture where marriage is becoming less and less sacred, but hear me, God takes sin against marriage personally, because it is His institution.