Well, here we are again with Abraham trying to pass off his wife, Sarah, as his sister. It didn’t work out in Genesis 12 so why would he go that route again? Had he still not learned to trust in God for his safety and provision? Maybe he thought it would work this time. They say, “the third times the charm”, but maybe Abraham thought the second time would be. After all, Sarah was ninety years old this time around. It wasn’t strange to think no one would be interested in taking a wife that old.
From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. Genesis 20:1-2
Initially, I was a bit bored and frustrated with this chapter and wondered why we had to rehash this same old tired story and sin again. In fact, instead of the usual few hours to read, ponder and write the blog, this one took three days. Not three solid days, but three days of reading it, being bored, uninterested and putting it off. When something like this happens, it’s good to ask ourselves why we are responding in this way. And then it hit me. . .
Maybe I didn’t like chapter 20 so much because it was frustrating to see Abraham pull out the same sin strategy again and I was reminded of how I have done this same thing. Knowing better, but moving forward with the thought, action or word anyway. It frustrates me when I fall into a pattern of sin. This chapter is convicting because as much as I was judging Abraham and thinking, “he should know better” I know I am no different or better than he was.
Like us, Abraham let fear rule in his life. He forgot all the times God had come through for him. His faith in God wavered and also his faith in mankind and the people he was going to encounter in this new territory. I remember the lessons I had to learn over and over again because I didn’t handle them correctly by recognizing my sin, asking forgiveness from God and then tucking the lesson away in my heart. Now, I pray during and after the trial, obstacle, failure or storm for God to plant the lessons learned within my heart and mind so I never forget them and don’t have to relearn them. There are so many things I never want to have to revisit or relearn again.
But when I do forget them and I end up back in the same place I was hours, months or years earlier asking for God’s forgiveness once again and for the same thing, I get so frustrated with myself. Grace! I’m so quick to offer it to others but slow to offer it to myself.
Self-reflection can be difficult and takes work and courage to face what we are lacking and need help with. I believe that’s why I kept putting off Genesis 20. It’s amazing how scripture continues to teach, correct and rebuke.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
I’m grateful that tucked into this study of Genesis God reminded me how important it is to:
- find the courage and strength to lean on Him and not myself,
- leave all sin at the foot of the cross for Christ to cover,
- move forward striving to be a better person each time we pick ourselves up and dust off the mess we created or had to endure, and
- offer grace to others AND ourselves as we move closer to being the person He intended for us to be for His kingdom, glory and good work.