In Genesis chapter 20, Abraham sojourns at Gerar. Denies his wife, who is taken by Abimelech. Abimelech is reproved for her in a dream. He rebukes Abraham. Restores Sarah; and reproves her. Abimelech and his family are healed at Abraham’s prayer.
In Genesis chapter 21, Isaac is born, and circumcised. Sarah’s joy. Isaac is weaned. Hagar and Ishmael are cast forth. Hagar in distress. The angel relieves and comforts her. Abimelech’s covenant with Abraham at Beersheba.
In Genesis chapter 22, Abraham is tempted to offer Isaac. He gives proof of his faith and obedience. The angel prevents him. Isaac is exchanged for a ram. The place is called Jehovah-jireh. Abraham is again blessed. The generations of Nahor unto Rebekah.
Prayers and Insight
Apparently Abraham didn’t deal completely with his sin of lying. When he went to Egypt, he told Sarah to say, “You are my sister” (12:13). God judged Pharaoh because he took Sarah to be his wife. Now years later, the same sin of lying cropped up. Abraham told Abimelech, King of Gerer, “She is my sister” (20:2). When you voice the prayer of crucifixion, you put to death the sin that plagues you. Didn’t Paul say, “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24)?
- Lord, I’m not perfect, and I have an old sin nature; I lay every sin before You. Forgive me, cleanse me, and take away my bent to sinning. I yield completely to You; I will not go back to my old sin that I did before. Amen.
When we’ve been “caught” in a sin, we don’t feel like intercession, nor do we feel spiritual enough to touch God. But it’s expedient to pray to reverse a crisis we’ve caused. All we want to do after we’ve been caught is ask for forgiveness, and beg God for cleansing. Abraham must have been embarrassed when Abimelech caught him in a lie. When we’re caught in sin, as was Abraham, we don’t feel like praying, but Abraham needed to pray, and his prayer needed to get results. “So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servant” (20:17).
- Lord, forgive me when I sin ignorantly, and forgive me when I sin with my eyes wide open. Cleanse me and restore me to “praying ground.” Listen to me and hear my intercession. Amen.
Abraham had to pray even when he didn’t feel like praying, and probably wasn’t on “praying ground.” Abraham’s sin had broken his fellowship with God. He had to first get back in fellowship with God, then he could intercede for Abimelech.
- Lord, make me pray when it’s the right thing to do. Even when I don’t feel like praying and I’m not spiritually able to pray, give me a burden to pray and make me do it. Amen.
Sometimes your spouse may tell you what to pray for, and you must listen to your mate because you’ve been wrong. Doesn’t God give us a mate to help us walk with God? Abraham was arguing for Ishmael, his other son. This became a “my son versus your son” argument. God didn’t try to make both feel good, like a lawyer or judge might try to mediate a marriage argument today.
- Lord, I am very selfish and I usually think I am right. When I’m wrong, teach me to listen to my spouse. Teach me to pray for the things that are right. Amen.
Sometimes we can’t pray because we don’t know the plans of God. We can’t pray if God hasn’t shown us the things or events that concern us. Abraham had an altercation with Abimelech over water rights (21:25). God had promised to give Abraham the Promised Land, so he went to the very edge of the Promised Land and dug a well. Beersheba was an oasis on the edge of the desert. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, claimed the well and the two men came to an agreement about the well (21:32). Abraham planted a tree of ownership (I’ve done that at almost every house where I’ve ever lived.) Then Abraham called him The Everlasting God, El Olam.
- Lord, You know the things I don’t know, so guide my life today. Because You know what will happen in the future, I yield to Your control of my life. Amen.
God wanted to test Abraham, so He called Abraham by his name. Abraham’s answer, “Here I am,” (22:1) shows Abraham recognized God’s voice and was ready to serve the Lord. Would you recognize God’s voice if He called, and how quickly would you be ready to answer when God calls?
- Lord, speak for your servant is ready to serve You. Forgive me for having so many distractions in my life that I missed Your call in my life in the past. Amen.
When Abraham said, “God will provide a lamb” (22:8), this pictured God the Father offering His Son Jesus as a lamb sacrificed for our sins. When we don’t understand God, or even doubt Him, God will provide.
- Lord, I trust You to provide for all my needs. Amen.
God called Abraham when he was about to plunge the knife into Isaac. Again God showed a ram caught by his horns in a thicket. God is Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD who provides.
- Lord, thank You for providing for my needs in the past. I trust You to provide for me in the future. Amen.
- Bible Summary – Adapted from The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by R. A. Torrey
- Insights and Prayers – Adapted from The Prayer Bible