Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 20

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: To Record God's Creation and Identify His Plan (c 1-22)
Theme: The Story of Abraham (c 12-25)
Message: Abraham Deceives the King (v 1-38)

Genesis 20 Commentary

(20:1-4) Abraham Returns to His Pet Sin - Abraham had used this same trick before to protect himself 12:11-13). Although Abraham is one of our heroes of faith, he did not learn his lesson well enough the first time. In fact, by giving in to the temptation again, he risked turning a sinful act into a sinful pattern of lying whenever he suspected his life was in danger. No matter how much we love God, certain temptations are especially difficult for us to resist. These are the vulnerable spots in our spiritual armor. As we struggle with these weaknesses, we can be encouraged to know that God is watching out for us just as he did for Abraham. Seeking our own strategy without him only worsens matters.

(20:6) God Protects Sarah - Abimelech had unknowingly taken a married woman to be his wife and was about to commit adultery. But God somehow prevented him from touching Sarah and held him back from sinning. What mercy on God's part! How many times has God done the same for us, holding us back from sin in ways we can't even detect? We have no way of knowing-we just know from this story that he can. God works just as often in ways we can't see as in ways we can.

(20:11-13) Trust the Lord in Times of Conflict - Because Abraham mistakenly assumed that Abimelech was a wicked man, he made a quick decision to tell a half-truth. Abraham thought it would be more effective to deceive Abimelech than to trust God to work in the king's life. Don't assume that God will not work in a situation that has potential problems. You may not completely understand the situation, and God may intervene when you least expect it.

(20:17-18) Sin affects others -  Why did God punish Abimelech when the king had no idea Sarah was married? (1) Even though Abimelech's intentions were good, as long as Sarah was living in his harem he was in danger of sinning. A person who eats a poisonous toadstool thinking it's a harmless mushroom no doubt has perfectly good intentions-but will still suffer. Sin is a poison that damages us and those around us, whatever our intentions. (2) The punishment, striking all the women of Abimelech's household with infertility, lasted only as long as Abimelech was in danger of sleeping with Sarah. It was meant to get Abimelech's attention, not to harm him. (3) The punishment clearly showed that Abraham was in league with almighty God. This incident may have made Abimelech respect and fear Abraham's God.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Repetitive Sin

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 20 and in today's text we see Abraham and his continued sin of Lying. When fearful, Abraham lied thinking he would be killed for have Sarah as his wife by Abimelech and we see Abraham sin. Just as he did in chapter 12,  Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife by calling her his sister. You would think after all Abraham had seen the Lord do in his life, the promises that God had made to him, and seen fulfilled, that Abraham would trust the Lord to protect him. Yet when under pressure he sinned by lying. In making application we can learn by Abraham's tendency to commit the same sin repetitively . When we sin we can ask for forgiveness but let us not forget our tendency to give in to that sin again. In making application I have learned that we all have the tendency towards repetitive sin. What I have learned is that I need to take steps to not be placed in that situation again, learn scripture that deals with that sin, and pray for protection daily to avoid the besetting sin. For example the person who has a tendency to sin with alcohol should avoid bars and friends who would tempt him to drink. How about you? Do you have a sin that you struggle with? If so purpose in your heart to take steps to avoid being placed in a place of failure? Stay humble before the Lord, Pray and focus on Him when faced with temptation.


Genesis 20

Genesis 20

 1And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

 2And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

 3But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

 4But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, LORD, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

 5Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.

 6And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

 7Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

 8Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.

 9Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

 10And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

 11And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

 12And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

 13And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

 14And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

 15And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.

 16And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.

 17So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.

 18For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.