Genesis 20

* Abraham's sojourn at Gerar, Sarah is taken by Abimelech. (1-8)

Abimelech's rebuke to Abraham. (9-13) Abimelech restores Sarah.

(14-18)

1-8 Crooked policy will not prosper: it brings ourselves and

others into danger. God gives Abimelech notice of his danger of

sin, and his danger of death for his sin. Every wilful sinner is

a dead man, but Abimelech pleads ignorance. If our consciences

witness, that, however we may have been cheated into a snare, we

have not knowingly sinned against God, it will be our rejoicing

in the day of evil. It is matter of comfort to those who are

honest, that God knows their honesty, and will acknowledge it.

It is a great mercy to be hindered from committing sin; of this

God must have the glory. But if we have ignorantly done wrong,

that will not excuse us, if we knowingly persist in it. He that

does wrong, whoever he is, prince or peasant, shall certainly

receive for the wrong which he has done, unless he repent, and,

if possible, make restitution.
9-13 See here much to blame, even in the father of the

faithful. Mark his distrust of God, his undue care about life,

his intent to deceive. He also threw temptation in the way of

others, caused affliction to them, exposed himself and Sarah to

just rebukes, and yet attempted an excuse. These things are

written for our warning, not for us to imitate. Even Abraham

hath not whereof to glory. He cannot be justified by his works,

but must be indebted for justification, to that righteousness

which is upon all and unto all them that believe. We must not

condemn all as hypocrites who fall into sin, if they do not

continue in it. But let the unhumbled and impenitent take heed

that they do not sin on, thinking that grace may abound.

Abimelech, being warned of God, takes the warning; and being

truly afraid of sin and its consequences, he rose early to

pursue the directions given him.
14-18 We often trouble ourselves, and even are led into

temptation and sin, by groundless suspicions; and find the fear

of God where we expected it not. Agreements to deceive generally

end in shame and sorrow; and restraints from sin, though by

suffering, should be thankfully acknowledged. Though the Lord

rebuke, yet he will pardon and deliver his people, and he will

give them favour in the sight of those with whom they sojourn;

and overrule their infirmities, when they are humbled for them,

so that they shall prove useful to themselves and others.
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