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Genesis 20:1-18

Talks for Growing Christians

Abraham and Abimelech

Genesis 20:1-18

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Lesson Number 43

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Mature believers can make selfish mistakes more than once.
  2. Mature believers may receive stinging rebukes more than once.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s not blame God for our selfish choices.
  2. Let’s not assume we know an unbeliever’s heart.

Questions

  1. Who was Abimelech? Why was he important here?
  2. What is a prophet? Who was the prophet in this biblical account?
  3. Did Abraham, the friend of God and a man of faith, duplicate his mistakes?
  4. How was Abraham rebuked for his lies?
  5. Abraham made an erroneous assumption about Abimelech. What was it?

Answers

  1. He was the king of Gerar and one of the early Philistine kings. He is important to this scriptural account because of his dealings with Abraham.
  2. A prophet is defined as one who speaks the word of God to the people. Abraham was called a prophet in Genesis 20:7. This is the first mention of a prophet in the Bible.
  3. Yes. He lied twice about Sarah being his wife, first to Pharaoh (Genesis 12) and then to Abimelech (Genesis 20). The fact that Sarah was Abraham’s half sister (Genesis 20:12) didn’t make their lie less than a lie.
  4. He was rebuked by unbelievers, first by the pagan Pharaoh and then by Abimelech.
  5. See Genesis 20:11. Abraham assumed that Abimelech was a pagan like the rest of the Canaanites. He was unaware that Abimelech had a knowledge of God, that he heard the true God, and that he had integrity of heart before God. See Genesis 20:6.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Abraham was not preserved from making foolish mistakes. He even repeated the same mistakes. A selfish mistake can take an active, productive, mature believer right out of the loop of God’s blessing. How can you learn from this lesson?
  2. Abraham was rebuked by unbelievers for lying. What a sad testimony! Did you ever receive a stinging rebuke from an unbeliever? This is a lesson in walking by faith. Heed it.

Challenge

  1. Abraham tried to shift the blame of his mistake to God (Genesis 20:13). Abraham failed to take his own responsibility for making a mistake. Don’t be an Abraham in this regard.
  2. Abraham assumed that Abimelech did not know or fear or obey God. Have you been guilty of such assumptions about some people in your spheres of life? .

Key Verses

  • “Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’“ Genesis 20:2
  • “Abimelech said before God, ‘In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands...’ and God said to him, ‘Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart.’“ Genesis 20:5-6
  • “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” Genesis 20:10
  • “Abraham said, ‘I thought the fear of God is not in this place.’“ Genesis 20:11

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