If you don’t find yourself holding your breath while you read your Bible, then you might not be reading it right. If you don’t get lost in the intrigue and thrill of today’s passage, then you are missing the story!
The distasteful ending of Genesis 19, when Lot has two illegitimate children with his daughters, is a foreshadow of the desperate position Abraham finds himself in Genesis 20. He tells Abimelech, “Sarah is my sister” (Genesis 20:2). Abimelech adds Sarah to his harem, pays Abraham a handsome dowry, and receives a nightmarish message, “Thou art a dead man” (Genesis 20:3)! Such high stakes. What could it mean? It had only been a matter of months or even weeks previous when the Lord, while visiting Abraham and Sarah, promised, “I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son” (Genesis 18:10). The promised child—the one with whom God said he would raise up a nation which would bless all nations—the promised child for whom Abraham and Sarah had waited nearly 25 years to meet, was almost conceived. If Abimelech has Sarah, how can the promise come to pass?! Quite the mess Abraham made.
How often do our “brilliant” ideas actually put us in a terrible mess? David hides in the Philistine town of Ziklag, Jehoshaphat establishes a treaty with Ahab, Ananias sells some property, and Peter warms himself by a fire. So many choices in Scriptures seemed so simple and harmless but suddenly become tragic. When we try to blend convenience with God’s ways it becomes a recipe for self-destruction. God’s ways cannot be diluted with our ingenuity. The purity of his ways cannot suffer any tarnish of our reason. Check your life. Have you mixed reasonability in with God’s instruction? You may have set your course for self-destruction! Take a warning from Abraham’s life, follow God’s ways without discrimination or diversion and you can avoid self-destructive behavior.