Devotional Short Note to Genesis 20


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only” Charles Dickens in Tale of Two Cities opening words comparing London and Paris in 1775 before the paradigm shift of the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the Caesero Papism and the beginning of the equal evils of the reign of secularism. Says Herbert Douglas in 1989 in his book on Ellen White that Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Ellen White had that in common that they never had more than a secondary education (H. Douglas, Messenger of the Lord, chapter 4 at endnote 36).

God’s destruction of Sodom and Gemorrah was in a sense in 2041 BCE also a paradigm shift for the shocked surrounding nations like Abimelech, an Amorite from Gerar. The expectancy of children at Christmas that Santa is in town, was Abimelech’s afterglow of the destruction of Sodom and Gemorrah: God is in town.

This chapter is all of that. The worst of times with Sodom and Gemorrah is going to have a ray of hope with Abimelech in this chapter.

Abraham moved south after Lot settled in the mountain and went as far as Gerar. According to the Israel Student Manual map of the historical geography of the country, Gerar is between Ashkelon and Gaza deeper in away from the coastline on an alternative route to Egypt that is not so close to the coast. In line with Aphek from the north.

Abraham has to move because his animals needed food and he was nomadic. He is a tentdweller. Your caravan dweller of modern times. But very rich and thus influential.

In this chapter God let us know through the Holy Spirit that the Predestination doctrine that was advocated strongly by Theodore Bezae after the death of John Calvin as part of the TULIP letters around 1580, is not biblical.

Genesis 20:6 is the key to a full understanding of the salvation engine of God: “And God said unto him in the dream: 'Yea, I know that in the simplicity of your heart you have done this, and I also withheld you from sinning against Me. Therefore suffered I you not to touch her.” וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הָאֱלֹהִים בַּחֲלֹם גַּם אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי בְתָם-לְבָבְךָ עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת וָאֶחְשֹׂךְ גַּם-אָנֹכִי אוֹתְךָ מֵחֲטוֹ-לִי עַל-כֵּן לֹא-נְתַתִּיךָ לִנְגֹּעַ אֵלֶיהָ.

If one analyze this, God says that in the simplicity of his heart Abimelech wanted to follow the marriage laws of the society of the Ancient Near East. In his simple heart he did not want to do evil. God knew his heart. Simple obedience did not go unnoticed. Therefore the Holy Spirit powerfully held him at bay not to sin against the Lord. The will of Abimelech to follow the Lord brought with it God Himself as agent to protect Abimelech from sinning. The intention of the human opens the door for the Holy Spirit to fully assist. “I also withheld you from sinning against Me”. Salvation at its best. God saves Abimelech from his sin because he was already willing not to go against the Torah principles of God which was also shadowed in customary laws of the Ancient Near East. When the dream-voice of the conscience talked to Abimelech, he heeded to that Voice and refused to sin. He became a winner for Christ.

God told Abimelech to give Sarah back because Abraham is a prophet: “for he is a prophet” = כִּי-נָבִיא הוּא (Genesis 20:7).

In Genesis 15 it was revealed how Abraham received prophecies of what was to happen hundreds of years after him. Indeed a prophet. He is called “father Abraham” by many in modern times but hardly ever “prophet Abraham”.

Abimelech also told all his workers about what happened and all of them were afraid. Due to Sodom and Gemorrah, they did not want to mesh with God. One cannot live in Gerar in such proximity to Sodom and Gemorrah, sit with a salt formed Dead Sea chaos where there was an Eden-like valley, and not knowing what happened.

In his propriety sensitivity Abimelech the Amorite said to Abraham the prophet: “you have done deeds unto me that ought not to be done” = מַעֲשִׂים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יֵעָשׂוּ, עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי (Genesis 20:9).

Abraham’s prejudice is clear: “Because I thought: Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake” = כִּי אָמַרְתִּי רַק אֵין-יִרְאַת אֱלֹהִים, בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה; וַהֲרָגוּנִי, עַל-דְּבַר אִשְׁתִּי (Genesis 20:11). If one listens to the extract on Youtube by Charles Brooks on “Little Willy” after that 16 minutes one can understand how Abraham felt. The same prejudice by God’s anointed worker. The same end-surprise. Both Abraham and Charles Brooks were finally very delighted in what they saw before their eyes what God is doing.

Abimelech gave livestock, land to Abraham and money to Sarah as restitute of his honesty to do right on this matter ( Genesis 20:14-16).

Abraham then approached God with a prayer, a prayer that God was waiting from Abraham as well after his honest confession to Abimelech about his own prejudices and God restored Abimelech and in answering Abraham’s prayer, Abraham knew that his own wrong is also forgiven.


Dear God

If only we run unto You. If only. That is what we are doing right now. Like Abimelech and like Abraham for there is balsam in Gilead. In Jesus Name, Amen.