“Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’ And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.”
Abraham’s journey had led him to the far south of the promised land, to an area that had begun to be occupied by the Philistines. Because of the reputation of the Philistine people, Abraham and Sarah decided the best approach to guarantee their safety was to lie about their relationship. They would tell anyone who asked, they were brother and sister. Thinking Sarah would not be taken and Abe would not be killed. It seems their plan backfired, because when the Philistine king of Gerar saw Sarah, he took her into his harem and sought to make her his wife.
This passage serves as an illustration of many things, not the least of which, it gives us a clear picture of what true repentance actually looks like.
It seems the moment Abimelech took Sarah, things started becoming difficult within his home. In addition to the fact that his family members became barren, unable to have children, he also began to have some very vivid, and quite disturbing dreams. In one of these dreams, God appeared to him declaring that if he did not return Sarah to Abraham he would be killed. We read that God told Abimelech to restore Sarah to her husband. The word restore means to return or to turn back. It is a word which could be used synonymously with the word repentance. In essence, God is calling the king to repent of his actions.
It seems odd that this Philistine king becomes a very clear and positive example of what true repentance actually looks like. We read, he was confronted by the Word of God, he cried out to the Lord, and he changed his behavior. All three of these steps are a part of real repentance. Sadly, we often find ourselves arguing with the Word or attempting to justify our actions instead of allowing the Word to change our living. In some cases, we we might even go as far as admitting what we are doing is wrong and even cry out to God, without being willing to make the appropriate changes.
Let’s determine today, to follow Abimelech’s example and make whatever changes the Word of God demands. After all, once he repented, he began to receive the blessings of God.