The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 20
also
Healing in the Old and New Testaments

written by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter twenty
  Chapter 20- Abraham and Abimelech
  Gen. 20:1 A word study for fun
 
Gen. 20:2 - 7 Abimelech wanted to marry Sarah
  Gen. 20:8 - 18 Abimelech blessed Abraham
  Abraham was a covering to his wife
  God's healing
  Healing Scriptures In The Old Testament
  Healing Scriptures In The New Testament
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I mostly quote scriptures from the Old King James Translation of the Bible (the authorized 1611 version)
Many words on this web page are color coded:

The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
The words of Scripture are in purple that symbolize His royalty.
A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 20
Abraham and Abimelech

Abraham moved again:
"And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar"
(Genesis 20:1).

A word study:
Sometimes, word studies can be fun. Here are some examples:
The word Kadesh means "holiness", the word Shur means "that beholds", and the word Gerar means "pilgrimage." If we put these words together we get "my pilgrimage that beholds holiness." What kind of application can we make from these words? You and I have a pilgrimage through this life that should be one of holiness to God.

Abraham had his residences in 3 cities: Beersheba, Mamre, and Bethel. Beersheba means "the well of an oath", Mamre means "set with trees", and Bethel means "the house of God." If we put these words together we get "the well of an oath set with trees at the house of God." What kind of application can we make from these words? The well is our life, an oath can mean our dedication to Christ, trees can mean crosses, and the house of God can mean our church. So, we could say that our life should be dedicated to the Christ of the cross Who we worship at our church.


Abimelech wanted to marry Sarah:
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, she is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him:
"Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife."
"But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, she is my sister? and she, even she herself said: he is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream:
"Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against Me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine."
(Genesis 20:2-7).

Abimelech was a righteous gentile Philistine King. The name Abimelech is not a personal name but a title name meaning "Father King" or "Father of the King" and it was applied to several rulers of the Philistines in those early days.

So, what went wrong that got God's attention? There was nothing wrong with a king wanting to marry a beautiful woman, even if she was 90 years old and a good cook. What went wrong was that this action was against God's will. I doubt if Abimelech took this matter to prayer at all but he should have because it could have cost him his life.

There are several things that we learn from these passages of scripture. One is that there are other saved persons in this world rather than yourself. Abimelech appeared to be a man of integrity who had impressive behavior and talked to God. There may be other Christians in the world who we may meet from time to time (outside of our little schere of influence) who also have a love for God and who also are people of integrity and holiness. Let's be kind to one another. Secondly, God will judge any Christian who gets out of the will of God. Thirdly, God can and does speak to a person in a dream. Fourth, God may prevent a Christian from committing a serious crime because God is all powerful. Also, along the same thought, God may save His people from injury- from being hurt by others. Fifth, a person has free will to obey God or not. Not to obey Him has consequences, but to obey Him brings blessings. And sixth, God may warn a believer before He judges him or her. The Apostle Peter stated:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
(1 Peter 4:17).

God's judgment had already fallen on Abimelech before God told him about it. What was God's judgment on him? Abimelech was denied what he wanted the most- probably a male heir to rule after him. And Abimelech's disobedience to God's will could have resulted in his death.

What was Satan doing at this time? It appears that Satan tried to thwart God's plan twice using the same method of having a powerful ruler steal Abraham's wife. The first time was in Egypt
(Genesis 12:17) and now with Abimelech. Each ruler had no sex with Sarah. If they had, then some folks might have thought that Isaac was the son of Pharaoh or Abimelech's son. God did not want this to happen so God took action to stop it. God can adequately control our lives even if we screw things up really bad. Sometimes He has to take care of us even when we can't take care of ourselves. That is what a loving Heavenly Father does.

Notice that Satan was not attacking Abraham directly, but was directing his attacks against Abraham's wife. His battle plan is still the same today- to attack the minister's wife. If he can bring down the wife, he can sometimes bring down the minister, sometimes bring down his family, and sometimes bring down his church.

God called Abraham to be a prophet. What is a prophet? The prophet was to forth tell (preach God's word) and also to foretell (reveal the future in reference to God plan)
(1 Corinthians 12:28, 14:37).

Why is Abimelech mentioned in God's word? I don't really know. Abimelech might have been a righteous individual- one who loved and served the Lord and that is why God wanted him remembered. If that is so, then we can conclude that godly folks can sometimes be deceived- like Abimelech was by Abraham. Did telling this lie ruin Abraham's credibility for the Lord? Did it hurt his testimony? Abimelech could have punished Abraham. I am sure it crossed his mind. Sometimes, godly folks (like Abimelech) can make mistakes like misjudging and punishing others who may appear to be guilty to us but who actually are innocent of breaking any criminal laws- like Abraham was. But once we make a mistake like that we have to do everything in our power to correct it and make it right for the person who we have wronged. God may forgive one who makes an unintentional mistake, like Abimelech did, but He will judge the person who does not make it right with adequate restitution. I am glad that Abimelech made adequate restitution to Abraham
(Genesis 26:8-14).

Will you teach a little more about restitution? Yes. Abimelech had to make restitution. What is that? Let me give you a personal example. One time I had a minister brother who stole some personal property of mine. I confronted him and he asked me to forgive him. I forgave him and wanted him to give me my personal property back. He refused. I told him that the bible taught restitution and that he should practice it by giving me back what he had taken. He said to me, "I don't read that anywhere in the bible." He refused to do it. People do what they want to do. They can choose to be wilfully ignorant of the holy scriptures if they want to or use some excuse. I do not have much trust in this person to this very day and I never got my personal property back.

Abimelech could have done the same thing- he could have said to Abraham: "forgive me" and continued to keep Sarah. But God told him not to do that. Abimelech had to make restitution- he had to make it right. Some folks think that they can trespass against another and then ask for forgiveness and the matter is finished. But this is not always the case. Sometimes you have to make it right. Sometimes you might have to make restitution. You might have to pay something back, give something back, clear someone's name and reputation that you have tarnished, or do something else that God impresses on you to do
(Matthew 5:23-24).


Abimelech blessed Abraham:
"Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him: what hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. And Abimelech said unto Abraham: what sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? And Abraham said: because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her: this is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me: he is my brother. And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said: behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. And unto Sarah he said: behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife"
(Genesis 20:8-18).

There is a simple lesson here- obedience is rewarded but disobedience is punished. We see this principle all the way through the bible. Sometimes God kills a disobedient person. Abimelech was disobedient to God, by ignorance, but that was no excuse. What was Abimelech's punishment? God did not allow him to have the thing that he wanted most. What was that? That was children. And the punishment was not just for Abimelech personally but for his entire family. The family suffered because of their disobedient leader. That is another lesson that is important for us to learn. How did it turn out? Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham with his apologies. If Abimelech had kept her, it would have wrecked the plan of God. Then Abimelech paid restitution to Abraham (1,000 pieces of silver).

What is the relevance? I believe that is the way that God expects us to act. When we wrong someone, we go to them with an apology and ask for their forgiveness. If we do not, we can expect to receive God's punishment or we reap what we sow. That may happen anyway. The injured party may pray or call down an imprecatory prayer on the one who has injured them. That kind of prayer appeals to God's justice rather than His grace, love, and mercy. And, sometimes, God answers that kind of prayer. So it is better to make it right with someone you have injured so they do not pray that kind of prayer against you. If you are a disobedient Christian, God may allow a trial to hit you. Sometimes we are like an old rock with sharp edges. A trial sand papers those sharp edges to make them smooth and less abrasive to others. Then, like Abimelech, we need to make restitution to the one we have wronged. The wrong needs to be made right if possible. If that is not possible, then the wrong should be forgiven and forgotten. Then there should be healing but sometimes that takes time. Jesus had much to say about forgiveness, reconciliation, love, kindness, et cettera, but it is all summed up in the Golden Rule
(Matthew 7:12).

Please tell us more, Preacher! Ok, the curse of God can fall on anyone who is disobedient to Him or who mistreats one of His true Christians. This had happened to Abimelech and his family because of Abimelech's sin in taking Sarah. Abimelech's family could not have children. However, when one makes things right, according to the holy scriptures, God can turn a curse into a blessing. And because Abimelech knew that Abraham was God's anointed prophet (he had the gift of prophecy), Abimelech gave him a restitution offering (1,000 pieces of silver). I am sure that Abraham forgave him and prayed for him. Abraham was an anointed prayer intercessor. God listened to Him and honored his prayers. When he prayed for somebody, something happened. Then God healed Abimelech and his family- there were children and grandchildren born and Abimelech became the head of a dynasty. Good choices are important in life.


Abraham was a covering to his wife:
The idea that a man can be a covering to his wife was part of the oriental culture. A woman needs a covering. What kind of covering? A covering of protection- her husband needs to protect her. A covering of warmth- her husband needs to provide clothes for her. A covering of tender emotion- her husband needs to keep her close to his heart. A covering of provision- her husband needs to provide for her financially. A family covering- her husband needs to be a good father to the children. A general covering- her husband needs to cover her in other matters. How about you! Are you being a good covering to your wife? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? In other words, how is that relevant? The Lord is a covering for each of His beloved- a covering of protection, warmth, provision, finances, companionship, love, grace, salvation, power, and so much more. All we have to do is allow Him to cover us, give us security, and tuck us safely into bed each night, so to speak. What a blessing He is to us! Hint: a good sermon or bible study lesson can be prepared in regards to that.


God's Healing

In verse seventeen it is stated that "God healed Abimelech". I want to take a little time here and teach about diving healing. I believe in divine healing and have been anointed with oil and prayed for several times in church. I have been healed by God in church and also at home. So, let us take a look at a few scriptures from the Bible to understand that it is God's will to heal. "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, Who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you do, because He lives with you now and later will be in you"
(John 14:16-18).

God the Holy Spirit is the Christian believer's Comforter today and He wants to comfort you through His Words in the Bible (His Word). God loves you. He cares for you. His will is to heal
(Matthew 8:2-3).


God says to you,
Child, everything will be all right. Do not worry. I am with you. I will continue to be with you always. I Am Jehovah Rophe, the Lord who Heals. Trust Me
(Exodus 15:26). I healed when I walked the earth in olden days and I heal today. I do not change...
(Hebrews 13:8).


"Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully. Don't lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning"
(Proverbs 4:20-22).

Trials are not enemies of faith
but
are opportunities to prove God's faithfulness

Healing Scriptures In The Old Testament

"Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The LORD rescues them in times of trouble. The LORD protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity and rescues them from their enemies. The LORD nurses them when they are sick and eases their pain and discomfort. "O LORD," I prayed, "have mercy on me. Heal me..."
(Psalm 41:1-4).


"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all"
(Psalm 34:19).


"And the Lord will protect you from all sickness. He will not let you suffer from the terrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but He will bring them all on your enemies!"
(Deuteronomy 7:15).


"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?"
(Jeremiah 32:27).


"...no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly"
(Psalm 84:11).


"O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me"
(Psalm 30:2).


"Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth"
(Jeremiah 33:6).


"And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the LORD helped them conquer all their enemies. All of the good promises that the LORD had given Israel came true"
(Joshua 21:44-45).


"Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's"
(Psalm 103:1-5).


"He spoke, and they were healed- snatched from the door of death"
(Psalm 107:20).


God Forgives the Repentant:
"The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this:

"I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts. For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always show my anger. If I did, all people would pass away- all the souls I have made. I was angry and punished these greedy people. I withdrew myself from them, but they went right on sinning. I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them and comfort those who mourn. Then words of praise will be on their lips. May they have peace, both near and far, for I will heal them all," says the LORD. "But those who still reject me are like the restless sea. It is never still but continually churns up mire and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked," says my God"
(Isaiah 57:15-21).


"You must serve only the LORD your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will keep you healthy"
(Exodus 23:25).


"I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the LORD"
(Jeremiah 30:17).


"So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha's house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: "Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of leprosy." But Naaman became angry and stalked away. "I thought he would surely come out to meet me!" he said. "I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me! Aren't the Abana River and Pharpar River of Damascus better than all the rivers of Israel put together? Why shouldn't I wash in them and be healed?" So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, "Sir, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn't you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply to go and wash and be cured!" So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his flesh became as healthy as a young child's, and he was healed!"
(2 Kings 5:9-14).


Healing Scriptures In The New Testament

"Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven"
(James 5:14-15).


"And then He told them,
"Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won't hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them"
(Mark 16:15-18).


It is God's will to heal.

"And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying,
"I will; be thou clean."
And immediately his leprosy was cleansed"
(Matthew 8:2-3).


You need perseverence with God when asking Him for anything.

"Jesus then left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter has a demon in her, and it is severely tormenting her." But Jesus gave her no reply- not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. "Tell her to leave," they said. "She is bothering us with all her begging." Then he said to the woman, "I was sent only to help the people of Israel- God's lost sheep- not the Gentiles." But she came and worshiped him and pleaded again, "Lord, help me!" "It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs," He said. "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even dogs are permitted to eat crumbs (crumbs of grace) that fall beneath their master's table." "Woman," Jesus said to her, "your faith is great. Your request is granted." And her daughter was instantly healed"
(Matthew 15:21-28).


You need faith to be healed. Where does faith come from?

"One day the apostles said to the Lord, "We need more faith; tell us how to get it." "Even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed," the Lord answered, "you could say to this mulberry tree, "May God uproot you and throw you into the sea," and it would obey you"
(Luke 17:5-6).

"So then FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, and HEARING BY the word of God"
(Romans 10:17).

"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see"
(Hebrews 11:1).


God wants you to exercise faith in Him.

"And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she was worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. For she thought to herself, "If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed." Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed! Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" His disciples said to him, "All this crowd is pressing around you. How can you ask, "Who touched Me?" But He kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and told him what she had done. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. You have been healed"
(Mark 5:25-34).


Christ wants you to be obedient to Him

"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. "Teacher," his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?" "It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered. "He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world." Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smoothed the mud over the blind man's eyes. He told him, "Go and wash in the pool of Siloam" (Siloam means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came back seeing"
(John 9 1-7).


Your healing may be for His glory.

"A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling Him, "Lord, the one you love is very sick." But when Jesus heard about it He said, "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this"
(John 11:1, 3-4).


Jesus wants you to really believe that He can heal you or the one(s) you are praying for. Here are the scriptures that prove this.

"And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto Me." And they brought him unto Him: and when he saw Him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, "How long is it ago since this came unto him?" And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, "Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him." And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose"
(Mark 9:17-27).


"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree"
(Galatians 3:13).


"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"
(Galatians 3:29).


< Genesis chapter 19
The entire chapter
Genesis chapter 20 >
Divine healing, continued



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