Today as I read from Genesis 20, I kept thinking back to Pastor Carter’s teaching during Boot Camp when he said “when you read the Bible, try to interpret the Big Picture.”
Most people know the story of Abraham when he came into Gerar, and told the foreigners that Sarah, his wife, was really his sister. Abimelech, king of Gerar, then sent for Sarah.
During the night, God came to Abimelech and warned him not to take Sarah, “for she is a man’s wife” (Genesis 20:3 ESV). At this point in the story (because he was unaware of his sin against Abraham and Sarah), Abimelech first begs for mercy from God,
In the morning, as Abimelech told his servants the truth of Sarah, the men became afraid.
Abimelech called for Abraham, returned Sarah to him, then questioned Abraham’s motives for giving her away.
At this point in the story, I get caught up in the variety of emotions that befell the king. Abimelech found favor in Sarah, pleads with God for mercy, fears his looming sin, then probes Abraham for answers.
What follows this, I declare to be the big picture.
Even though Abimelech has gone through a night of misfortune, distress, or whatever you call it, he calls Abraham and says “My land is before you; live wherever you like” and he gives Abraham sheep, cattle, slaves, and 1,000 shekels of silver.
Wow – a man (Abimelech) that almost sinned, due to no clear fault of his own, goes back to the man (Abraham) who honestly created the environment for the king to stumble, and offers him a fortune.
What can we learn from this? Forgiveness…. Love…. Obedience….