God’s ways are indeed mysterious. They defy reason and far outstrips every religious idea derived from the tree to knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis 20 we learn that Abraham and Sarah is sojourning in Gerar.
To our astonishment we come to know that both of them lied to king Abimelech concerning their marriage. What is even more astonishing is that God never rebukes them for lying. The word sin is totally absent from the narrative in relation to God’s faith heroes.
The one who is charged by God is the king for taking Sarah into his harem. The king pleads his innocence in the matter, but to no avail. God is adamant that he is the guilty one. Abimelech tries to explain that he hasn’t touched her to which God replies: I kept you from touching her.
A couple of pertinent questions now arise: Why didn’t God keep Abimelech from taking Sarah in the first place? Why didn’t God keep Abraham and Sarah from lying?
Let it be known that God is an eternal will to all goodness who desires to see all men come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. Every son is His co-worker in this glorious task. As a partaker of Divine nature every son is for others even though this startling fact can be hidden to us if we judge by appearances.
The main theme of this parable is God’s desire to forgive and heal the king. Abraham and Sarah quite inadvertently became God’s partners in His undertaking perfectly led by the Spirit as He found pleasing under the present circumstances.
Abraham overtly admits that fear came over him and from his limited vantage point that was the overarching reason for his lying. I love the fact that Abraham doesn’t communicate any shame when he recounts what took place between him and Sarah before she was taken by the king. And he does so in the face of rather severe accusations from the King.
It is the king (here a type of our accuser) who uses the word sin and in strong language tries to condemn Abraham. God, however, displays no hesitance in calling His beloved Abraham a prophet and further authorizes him to make intercession for the king and his house.
What confounds every religious inclined mind further is that in the course of all that transpires Abraham’s and Sarah’s riches are increased (The unsearchable riches of Christ), and by that our Father smothers every voice that cries foul play and insists that Abraham and Sarah should have been punished.
This story convincingly and empathically also demonstrates that God is our keeper and that He leads us perfectly on all His ways. It is also comforting to witness how God takes care of His own and protects them. He vigorously intervenes on Abraham’s and Sarah’s behalf and makes sure Sarah is returned unscathed to Abraham.
This is also a parable of faith, because Abraham never asks the question we all are tempted to ask in adverse and peculiar circumstances: “Why? Why is this happening to me?” Eckhart wrote: “It is out of this inner ground (the most inward part of our spirit where the Son is birthed) that you should perform all your works without asking, ‘Why?’.”