This past Sunday, the morning sermon was on Genesis 20. You can download it or stream it here. I won't claim that this is the best sermon you'll ever hear, but it's the best I've ever preached on Genesis 20. Of course, in 15 years of being "in the ministry" there's passage you repeat, and passages that you've only preached once…
I wanted to draw out a couple of additional thoughts from this passage that I didn't preach. Here you go:
1. Take a look at Genesis 20:10. This is Abimelech's response to Abraham after Abimelech finds out the truth that Sarah is not just Abraham's sister, she's also his wife. Abimelech wants to know just where in the world Abraham had been that people were that evil. Abimelech is aghast that Abraham thinks the Gerarites are that wicked.
In short: Abraham rightly estimated the lack of worship of the One True God. He overestimated the outflow of that depravity, and believed the worst possible things about Abimelech without actually knowing him. Abraham then took drastic measures for his own protection. (Leave aside that his drastic measures put his wife at risk and didn't really protect anybody.)
How often we Christians do this today. It is very easy to look around us and see the people that hold no fear of God in their eyes (Genesis 20:11) and then assume the worst about them. Every unreached people group becomes cannibals, every government official becomes an oppressor, every critic a heretic, and every unbeliever an agent of the enemy. We then shift to a defensive posture: nothing that will be done by these will be good.
Now, there is appropriate caution to be exercised. I do not suggest that Abraham should have been best friends with Abimelech or joined him at the temple for a sacrifice or two. However, Abraham fell into sin partially because he assumed the worst about his fellow man.
We need to be cautious about this. Even though sin infects all humanity, all humanity is still created in the image of God. That image is often marred and frequently hidden, but it's still there. Without evidence, we should be striving to see that image.
When we work to see that image, we take a proactive effort to nurture with the truth of God that image. In some, that won't matter one bit. They will continue to grow in their depravity and behave in wickedness unto destruction. Others, though, we may see the best thing happen: repentance, faith, and God's glorious salvation.
It depends on the way we go in among the heathen. Do we go to find fault or to glorify God?
Thought #2: At the very least, though, Abraham didn't try to blame this off on Sarah. When we make decisions as leaders, as Abraham was the leader of his family, we cannot blame off the results.
Leadership is not just giving instructions and directions. It's taking the responsibility for those instructions. If you made the decision, take the rap. I do not know of a situation where a leader was harmed by sharing credit and taking blame. It's really the better plan.