God’s Sovereign Will

I. Abraham’s lapse at Gerar.

A. The narrative builds on events from Genesis 18 and 19.

1. Abraham and Sarah have just had God’s promise restated.

2. Abraham has been driven to intercede for Sodom (and Lot).

3. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed (Genesis 19).

4. Lot and daughters are driven away and disgraced

B. The city of Gerar is the capital city of the Philistines.

1. Gerar is in the south Negev – toward Egypt.

a. Excavations demonstrate a prosperous city.
b. Probably the central trade route business center

2. The Philistines are descendants of Ham (Genesis 10:14).

a. “Palestine” is derived from the national term.
b. Common “father” is Mizraim (both Egypt and Philistines).
c. Abraham would have known much of this political data.

3. Social structure very similar to Egypt – obviously ungodly

C. The situation was “similar” enough for Abraham to lapse into fear.

1. Abraham’s “excuse” to Abimelech is a repeat (Genesis 20:11).

2. Abimelech (common title for “King”) is like Pharaoh.

3. Abraham and Sarah are now “renewed” by God to bear Isaac.

a. Sarah is 90 and Abraham 100 – physically “old” but “restored”
b. Sarah is “beautiful” – probably because of the miracle of her restoration to bear children
c. Abraham, who was “dead” physically, is now able to father 6 more sons after Sarah’s death – 35 years later! (Gen 25:2; 23:1)
d. God’s miraculous healing is instantaneous and long-lasting!

D. The situation is almost a duplicate of the incident 25 years ago.

1. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech are told the same half-truth.

2. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech take Sarah into their harem.

3. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech are sent “plagues” because of Sarah.

4. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech are given instructions by God to return Sarah to Abraham.

5. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech rebuke Abraham for his sin.

II. God takes over where Abraham fails.

A. Abraham and Sarah both fall into the same sin.

1. Their language is almost exactly the same.

a. Abraham (Genesis 20:2 and 11-13)
b. Sarah (Genesis 20:5 and 16)

2. They repeat their sin even after the stinging rebuke from Egypt.

a. Abraham uses the same reasoning (Genesis 12:10-13).
b. Pharaoh’s rebuke should never have been forgotten.
1) Genesis 12:18-20
2) Public rebuke and public banishment
c. Abraham did deeds that “ought not to have been done”.
1) Genesis 12:18-19 and 20:9
2) Compare Leviticus 4:2, 27; Titus 1:11; James 3:10

B. Abraham and Sarah were in danger of “losing” the promise.

1. Sarah could well have become pregnant by a pagan king.

2. Abraham, by his fear, endangered (humanly speaking) the great promise of God to “bless” the whole earth.

3. This was a terrible lapse of faith and an open disobedience.

C. God intervenes in both instances and prevents the human tragedy.

1. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech were “plagued” by God.

2. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech were warned by God.

3. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech were not “blamed” by God.

4. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech were “used” by God.

III. God’s sovereign will is always “in charge” of human affairs.

A. God’s “counsel” will stand (Proverbs 19:21).

1. God’s “good pleasure” will happen (Ephesians 1:9-11; Isaiah 46:10; Isaiah 14:24, 27).

2. God’s “thoughts” will endure forever (Psalm 33:10-11).

B. God’s sovereign work is evident throughout history (Romans 9).

1. The birth of Isaac – Romans 9:6-9

2. The birth of Jacob – Romans 9:10-13

3. The release of Israel under Moses – Romans 9:15-17

C. Abraham is the “father” of those who are saved by faith (Romans 4:16).

1. Galatians 3 is the “rationale” for this position.

2. We are all “heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

D. The “faith chapter” (Hebrews 11) cites the faith, not the works.

1. Hebrews 11:8-10 – Abraham called, sojourned, and looked.

2. Hebrews 11:11 and 1 Peter 3:5 – Sarah received and obeyed.

3. Hebrews 11:17 – Abraham offered up Isaac.

The Patriarchs
ch. 20


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