“Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will certainly die, you and all who are yours.”
~Genesis 20:7, CSB
Living by faith includes the call to something greater than looking out for number one.
~Adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien
Abimlech the Philistine king took Sarah into his harem. He did so because Abraham had told him that Sarah was his sister, which was true to a point but technically a form of deceit because Abraham married his half sister. He and Sarah had the same father but a different mother. In those days, it was common for people to marry their relatives. Aren’t you glad that social practice changed. Well, it has changed in most places. The LORD put a curse on Abimlech’s household and all his wives stopped bearing. In a dream the LORD told Abimlech what the problem was, he had taken another man’s wife and this man was a prophet. This is an amazing story. Abimlech does nothing wrong because Abraham deceived him and yet the LORD holds him accountable. Abimlech is more than glad to return Sarah to Abraham but in the process, he has to have Abraham pray for him so that they curse could be lifted. Amazingly, Abraham prays and the curse is lifted and Abimlech showers Abraham with gifts. Abimlech gave Abraham flocks, entire herds of livestock, male and female slaves and even money [one thousand pieces of silver]. Abraham conned Abimlech and came out smelling like a rose. Can you explain this? One thing is certain: Abraham was far from perfect. Twice he hid behind Sarah’s skirt: shame on Father Abraham. But God can hit a hard lick with a crooked stick. As I thought about this story and the fact that God told Abimlech, “The man is a prophet,” I began contemplating the prophetic significance of Abraham’s life.
Abraham was a nomad. Our modern word would be camper. He did not live in houses. He never owned a house or even an acre of land, yet he was one of the richest men the world has ever known. The LORD told him on at least three occasions: “I give this land to your offspring, from the Brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River.” Genesis 15:18 (CSB). The only property that Abraham owed was the cave at Machpelah that he bought from Ephron the Hethite as a burial place for Sarah and himself. How is this prophetic? Abraham never, in this life, received the promise. His entire life was one of faith. He lived and died believing in God’s promise yet he never saw that promise come to fruition in this life time. Jesus said, “The Meek will inherit the land.” What on earth does that mean. It means the meek [those who have the faith and spirit of Abraham] will some day own it all. I wouldn’t worry about titles here and now: they will not stand up in court. If you live the way Abraham lived, you are living for the world to come. This world will consider you foolish if you do but the world is the one being fooled. Don’t build your house on a camp site.
I’ve had one of those weeks and yesterday was one of those days. I came in from church last night and took a shower just to freshen myself up so I could do my reading. Then after that the blog. At 9:50 I get a phone call. The man said, “Did I get you up?” I said, “Or you kidding, I haven’t finished my work; I still have things to do.” Try as we might, the Christmas rush get to the worse of us.