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“Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelech said, ‘See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.’ Then to Sarah he said, ‘Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody.’ Thus she was rebuked.”—Genesis 20:14-16 (NKJV)
The weight of this section of Scripture is staggering in its grace. Abimelech’s grace toward Abraham is one facet, yet, if we look closely and dig deeper, we also see God’s grace as the function and foundation.
On the surface of Genesis chapter 20 is Abraham’s deception. By it, Abraham damaged his character, his faith, and his testimony. His lie caused a ripple effect, flowing out to his wife and his household, along with Abimelech and his people. While this might look devastating on the surface, at the shore of God’s grace the ripple ebbed away.
God’s grace began the moment Abraham lied, and it extended through his feeble excuses and Abimelech’s response to being deceived. The outcome of his deception is soft in rebuke and abundant in blessing. God both rebukes and blesses Abraham through Abimelech, for a “king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1 NKJV).
I wonder . . . when Abimelech asked Abraham, “What was in your view?” was that soft rebuke the very thing that convicted Abraham of all he had done? It was as if God Himself was asking, “Abraham, am I in your view?”
Then the blessing poured out! Livestock, servants, and the choicest land were offered to Abraham. Sarah was restored and restitution offered. How strange—the restitution came from the man who was wronged, which is diametrically opposed to what should have taken place. An olive branch of peace was extended by Abimelech, and from such grace, Abraham thrived.
But that is how God’s grace and mercy work: Grace is what God gives us that we don’t deserve, and mercy is what God doesn’t give us that we do deserve. Both extend to imperfect believers. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God . . . God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me.”
Friend, look closely and dig deep. Jesus is the silver given to us, our redemption and covering. God has given us His kingdom with many mansions to live. All these blessings are given by a Father who has been wronged. Truly, Jesus is the very function and foundation of God’s peace and grace.
DIG: Re-read Genesis chapter 20.
DISCOVER: After reading, do you see a connection between Abraham’s sin and blessing and how God has dealt with our sin? Read Romans 5:8 to help draw that connection.
DO: Take a moment to consider God’s grace and mercy in your life and see where your heart leads you. Psalms 23 and 103 are a perfect accompaniment to this time of reflection.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.