Do you and your spouse trust each other? Do you and your friends trust each other? If not, why not? Is there a legitimate reason for the lack of trust or is someone overly suspicious? Genesis 20 tells us about a time when Abraham had to exercise some trust. His story helps us evaluate our own ability to trust.
Read the following verses. Notice the phrase “at this time next year”.
Gen. 18:9 ¶ Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”
Gen. 18:10 He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.
Gen. 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.
Gen. 18:12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
Gen. 18:13 And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’
Gen. 18:14 “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Gen. 18:15 Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Yahweh was clear that Sarah would bear a son in approximately one year. This meant that the conception would happen in about 3 months. As you read the verses below, notice what happened around the time that Sarah conceived Abraham’s son. Notice also what did not happen.
Gen. 20:1 ¶ Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.
Gen. 20:2 Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
Gen. 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”
Gen. 20:4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless?
Gen. 20:5 “Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
Gen. 20:6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
Gen. 20:7 “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
Sarah was taken into Abimelech’s house around the time that she would have conceived Abraham’s child. Verse 4 tells us that Abimelech did not go near her and God stated in verse 6 that Abimelech did not touch her, but did God tell Abraham that Abimelech did not touch her? There was a period of time when Abraham could not vouch for Sarah’s purity. Did he ever doubt?
In the following verses, notice the words “vindication” and “cleared”.
Gen. 20:14 Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him.
Gen. 20:15 Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.”
Gen. 20:16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and before all men you are cleared.”
Gen. 20:17 Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children.
Gen. 20:18 For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
Gen. 21:1 ¶ Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised.
Gen. 21:2 So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.
Abimelech gave a thousand pieces of silver as proof that he had not violated Sarah. I assume his gift had some cultural significance and that everyone in Abraham’s household understood and accepted it as proof of Sarah’s innocence. Having said that, put yourself in Abraham’s place. God gave him a timeframe during which Sarah would conceive his son. During that timeframe, Sarah was taken into another man’s house. It required faith and trust on Abraham’s part to believe the child was his because he himself could not prove that Abimelech had not touched Sarah.
What if something like that happened to you? How much do you trust your spouse? Would you believe your spouse’s declaration of innocence? Why or why not? If you don’t trust your spouse, is it because your spouse is not trustworthy or are you overly suspicious? Take this moment to evaluate your ability and willingness to trust others. If someone has broken your trust, then the burden is on them to correct the situation. If you are overly suspicious, then the burden is on you to correct the situation.
Have you ever been deceived by appearances?
Do we curse people without realizing it?
Are people inherently good or inherently evil?
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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”