Abimelech’s Bad Dream

Genesis 20:1-18 NKJV

This passage of scripture fascinates me. This is the second time that Abraham feared for his life in front of a new people so that he called his wife, Sarah, his sister. The people in that age were not God fearing and Sarah must have been very beautiful. Wherever Abraham went, the people wanted to take her as their own prized possession. It was also revealed in this passage that Abraham was only telling a partial lie:

But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. (Genesis 20:12 NKJV)

There were several interesting things that stood out to me in this particular passage today.

The sanctity of marriage. Even in that time God came to Abimelech in a dream and reprimanded him for taking another man’s wife. In his defense, Abimelech proclaims to God, “I did not know it was his wife!” Later we learn that God punished them by closing all of the wombs in Abimelech’s house, only to later heal them.

God’s Ambassador’s: the prophets. In the old testament especially, God partnered with the prophets to carry out His will and His word. God was with Abraham. They talked to each other. God made promises to Abraham, protected him and answered his prayers. Abraham was not perfect, but he demonstrated how we can have a relationship with the Lord. God commands Abimelech to restore Abraham’s wife in a very clear message of who’s side He is on:

Now therefore, restore the mans wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours. (Genesis 20:7 NKJV)

God’s Mysterious Ways. God has His ways and that is that. We will never fully understand Him no matter how hard we try. In this passage, He threatens Abimelech in a dream and closes the womb of all those in his household. What for? All for taking a prophets wife in the innocence of his heart.

Did he not say to me, She is my sister? And she, even she herself said, He is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this. And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. (Genesis 20:5, 6 NKJV)

It’s as if God knew this the whole time. He kept Abimelech from Sarah, but curses His family anyway. He is all powerful and later heals their family when Abraham prays for Abimelech. The only way I can wrap my mind around this is that God was literally putting the “fear of God” into them. That was something that was definitely missing in those days. I have learned that we don’t always know why God does what what He does, but we partner with Him anyway. His ways are good and His understanding passes ours.

The Power of Prayer. God chose to heal Abimelech’s family only after Abraham prayed for him.

So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; (Genesis 20:17 NKJV)

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