Do You Obey In Faith?
Explore the Bible Series
February 10, 2008
Background Passage:† Genesis 20:1-23:20
Lesson Passage: Genesis 22:1-6; 9-18
story of Abraham provides an invaluable case study for Christian living.† I have some curiosity about the patriarchís
life before the call to leave
In our lesson material for this week, Abraham faced various kinds of tests.
Careful meditation on the life of Abraham will convince all of Godís people that we are not so different from our ancient brother.† We face trials too, similar to Abrahamís difficulties. Sometimes the patriarchís faith wavered, and mine does too.† Other moments, by Godís grace, Abraham persevered in faith and obedience, and, at times, God helps me to stand strong as well.† Tests of our faith often produce fear, depression, and confusion. I donít understand Godís ways sometimes, but I do know that grave trials characterize all of the Lordís people.† By his grace, may we all press on in the faith and continue in loving obedience to the direction of our loving Father.
I. Abrahamís Second Lie about Sarah (20:1-18): For the second time, Abraham lied about his relationship with Sarah.† Now, at the threshold of the fulfillment of the promise, Abraham jeopardized Sarahís moral purity; yet, God, in his mercy, salvaged the situation and preserved Sarahís honor.
A. Abrahamís deception (vv. 1-7)
journey to Gerar (v. 1): After the destruction of
2. relationship with Abimelech (v. 2): Abimelech may not have been a proper name, but royal title.† The king took Sarah into his harem.† This may seem, in light of Sarahís advanced age, an odd arrangement.† However, we must note that political marriages often characterize tribal societies. Abimelech may have married Sarah to ensure cordial relations with a formidable man like Abraham.† Also, we should observe that the text, this time, says nothing about Sarahís striking beauty.† She neared ninety years, and her beauty must have diminished by this time. Of course, we know little of the aging process in the patriarchal era, but it seems unlikely that she retained the attractiveness she once possessed.
3. Abimelechís dream (vv. 3-7): God appeared to Abimelech in a dream and warned the king about the danger of keeping Sarah in the royal harem.† The king, of course, married this woman innocently, and God spared Abimelech, pending the return of Sarah to Abraham.
4. Abimelechís obedience (vv. 8-18): The king returned Sarah and scolded Abraham for the unseemly occurrence. Abraham excused his actions by explaining that she was, indeed, his half/sister and recounting a long-held policy of lying about Sarah (v. 13).† A person can tell a lie so long that it becomes a kind of policy for coping with stressful situations, and Abraham fell into this trap.† In this instance, Abimelech had greater integrity than the man of faith.† The king gave Abraham an offering, and, after the patriarchís intercession, God healed the household of the king.
II. The Fulfillment of the Promise (21:1-34)
A. The birth of Isaac (vv. 1-7): Just as God had promised, Sarah conceived, and, during Abrahamís one hundredth year, the ninety year old woman gave birth to Isaac.† Abraham kept the covenant by circumcising Isaac on the eighth day.
B. The removal of Hagar and Ishmael (vv. 8-21): As Isaac grew, the old rivalry between Sarah and Hagar resurfaced.† Ishmael was a teenager by this tie, and he apparently held Isaac in distain.† His disrespectful behavior offended Sarah, and the old woman demanded that Abraham expel Ishmael and his mother.† Abraham, grieved over this continued disruption in his household, reluctantly agreed to send them away.† God endorsed Sarahís demands, and promised Abraham that Ishmael would father a great people.† Hagar took her son into the wilderness, and she clearly believed they would die of thirst and starvation.† An angel spared the two outcasts, and, eventually, Ishmael grew to manhood, took an Egyptian wife, and became a great hunter and warrior.
covenant with Abimelech (vv. 22-34): Abimelechís people had a dispute with
Abraham over a well, and the king sought a treaty to resolve the
disagreement.† The patriarch planted a
large tree to serve as a landmark of the agreement he made with Abimelech and
gave the king sheep and oxen as a goodwill offering.† From this time, the site of the covenant was
III. The Sacrifice of Isaac (22:1-24)
A. Godís directive to sacrifice Isaac (vv. 1-2): Several years passed between Chapters Twenty-one and Twenty-two.† Isaac had reached his teens, and God tested Abrahamís faith by requiring the patriarch to kill the promised son.† The Lord did not disguise his awareness of the severity of this test, ďTake your son, your only son Isaac, whom you loveÖĒ
obedience (vv. 3-14): Just as the Lord commanded, Abraham traveled to Moriah
Sarahís Death (23:1-20): Many years earlier, God had