【Bible Study】Genesis 20: Rely On God

Pastor Samuel Sharing

Brother William Sharing

Bible Study: Genesis

How should we read the Bible

Good morning, everyone. Today we are looking at Genesis Chapter 20, the story is repeated in this chapter as Abraham’s wife Sarah was taken away by Abimelek, King of Gerar. Abimelek was not the same as the king in Egypt, the Pharaoh who also took away Abraham’s wife previously. No matter where Abraham went, both Abraham and the local people never got the chance to know each other. Abraham told his wife Sarah: “Don't tell other people that you are my wife, tell them you are my sister, and I am your brother.” It sounds odd but there is some more, the King of Gerar, Abimelek had taken away Abraham’s wife Sarah.

In the previous chapter, God said to Abraham: “Your wife will have a son.” But is this the way to have a child? It is very difficult for you and me to understand what Abraham was thinking. I want to give you a little idea of how to read the Bible. Every time I read this kind of story in the Bible and search on the Internet, I find a lot of people who do not agree and criticize what Abraham was doing. These people think they are smarter than Abraham and they would do a better job if they were in the same situation as Abraham. " I can do a better job. I have big muscles; I am an MMA/UFC champion. I will fight if local people touch my wife.” But the problem is can that provide you with protection?

**What I want to tell you is that when you study the Bible, you should try to figure out the following: Abraham was the man who pleased God, if he was not doing something right, God would tell him. ** But if you were to say: “Oh, I am not sure, but somehow I just disagree.” **You can choose to agree or disagree, but that is not the way to study the Bible. Because Abraham was the man who pleased God and God never criticized him. ** Since the beginning of Genesis, there were many prophets and people who have written and contributed to the Bible, and no criticisms were found in both the Old Testament and New Testament.

Let me tell you how to study the Bible. If you and I are not a good match to Abraham, then we'd better learn from him rather than criticize. We are not historians going back to history and trying to prove something. We have no right to criticize anyone in the Bible who pleased God. When I was searching for materials for the Bible Study, I found a lot of people who like to criticize him. For example, Abraham was telling lies. I am not sure if that was a lie. What I am telling you is that the fundamental principle of the Bible Study is not to criticize. Don't try to be someone who thinks more superior than Abraham. Instead, we need to learn from Abraham: why he behaved in this way.

Once we have the basic principles in place for the Bible Study, we should try to learn from the people who pleased God, not criticisms. When I was attending a local church, every time we came back to this chapter, the atmosphere became very tense with debates. Especially the sisters in the church: “How could you do this? If my husband was doing this, I would throw him out." The key is they did not understand at all.

Abraham trusted God

Let me tell you what Genesis Chapter 20 is trying to tell us. The first point is Abraham relied on God’s protection. The issue is can God protect us? Abraham had a strong belief in God: “God will protect me. I would not rely on my muscles and weapons. I do not want to fight with local people. You want to take away my wife because she is my sister.” This was the approach Abraham took. You can choose to agree or disagree, but the result showed that God was in place and protected Abraham. God never criticized Abraham and never said it was a wrong approach. It was simply because Abraham trusted in the Lord.

If Abraham pretended to be a UFC champion, do you think that would bring protection? People would say: “I have muscles and I also have a strong faith; I can fight with the people and defeat them.” That is not the right thing. Let me tell you, if you like to fight, you will pick up the weapons and fight with the people for trivial things. Have you ever thought about your reputation? People would think: “Everywhere you go, you will pick up something to fight and kill.”

Your name will be tarnished with a bad reputation. Everywhere you go, people would think you just fight and kill for no reason. Your name will be dragged through the mud and that is a carnal behaviour. We should try not to be someone who fights and kills when we are in a bad mood because that is not the path of the Lord. Instead, you should try to build relationships and have harmony with people, God will make your name great. Else a martial art which will never bring protection.

The result was just a dream. The King of Gerar, Abimelek had a dream in the night and God gave him a warning. Could God give a dream to Abimelek? Yes, God can do anything. If you work in any company, don't try to fight for your own interest, getting involved in a rat race. Because that would only bring you a bad name. I have tried that before, and I got humiliated every time that I tried to protect myself. But every time I rely on God, I just do my job well and build a good relationship, God brings protection.

Be a prophet of God

The second point is, do you know what kind of people are a prophet? A prophet is someone who listens to what God says and then tells other people what will happen. He has foresight and can foretell something in the future. But that is just a kind of interpretation. A prophet is a man who can link up with God and get revelation from God. Abraham was a prophet, as when God wanted to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the previous chapter, God shared His idea with Abraham before the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

If you are a man who can foretell what is going to be more valuable, what kind of property to be invested in, and predict the stock price. I am sure you can make good fortune. A prophet is a person who links up with God, it is not because you want to become a prophet. You can be a fortune teller, but you cannot be a prophet. Because the prophet links up with God and needs to rely on God’s protection.

In Genesis chapter 12, Abraham went to Egypt. In this chapter, Abraham came to the piece of land where Abimelech was the king at the time. Abraham was a prophet and that was why God would bring protection. How did Abraham become a prophet? Because God spoke to him and chose him.

Then the next question is why God chose Abraham. That's a good question. Do you want to be the kind of person who is like Abraham? If you do, you’d better study who Abraham was and what kind of person he was. If we understand what Abraham was looking for, then you will probably understand what Abraham did. Because Abraham, as I told you before, was a wealthy person. He had a lot of donkeys, sheep, and many other things. In his household, he had about 2000 people. That was a big family. He had 318 trained men whom he brought along to fight with the four kings.

God will protect you if you were Abraham

People are always confused about this. Abraham had a big family and was a very powerful man. But he was never actually satisfied with this kind of life: “ I'm wealthy, but one day I will die. I want to seek eternal life”. If you are not a man who searches for eternal life, you will never be a prophet. If you are not a prophet, you will never be protected by God.

For example, if you pretend to be like Abraham and say that your wife is your sister. Then your wife might be taken away by Abimelech. This was not the first time that he did such a thing, he might have done it many times. Do you think God would give him a dream? Will God tell Abimelech to be careful because this guy is a prophet and this woman is his wife? Don’t touch her.

Do you think God will do that? Looking around the world, there are so many heart-wrenching stories, such as countries fighting with each other. But God has never bothered to tell the king not to fight. God doesn't bother with that, as He only bothers if you are Abraham.

If you were to be Abraham, then you have a lot of similarities with Abraham. Your mind goes along with the mind of Abraham. Your logic goes along with the logic of Abraham. Then God will surely protect you. If we look at this guy whom we call Abraham, Father of the Faith, he was a prophet and a friend of God Almighty. And he allied with God. If you want to bully this guy, you’d better ask God whether He agrees or not. God has a superpower and is more powerful than any worldly power.

God can bring protection only because you are Abraham. That's why I preach the Doctrine of Destiny. In Chinese, it is called Ming Ding. If you do not have the destiny, you are not going to be blessed because the blessing all comes within Abraham. If you do not carry the same mind, God will not bother to give a dream to someone who wants to play with you and take your wife. No. Just take them away. God will never even bother to give them a dream.

In the Bible, it says:

“You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”(Genesis 20:3)

“Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you don’t return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die.”(Genesis 20:7)

Wow, that's serious! **God protected Abraham like protecting His friend. ** There was also a time that God protected Hagar because of Abram. God did not just protect Abraham alone, God remembered Abraham. For the sake of Abraham, God took Lot out of the city before He destroyed the place. And God also took Lot’s wife and his two daughters. God also wanted to take the two daughters' boyfriends. That was amazing.

If you are Abraham, God will remember you. And for the sake of you, God will remember you and your wife, your husband, your household, and God will also make your name great. That's what I am preaching.

You’d better understand human life is meaningless, that you can't take anything with you when you pass away. Why am I keeping telling you this? I want you to hang on to God, to build a relationship with God, to be a prophet and a friend of God. I want you to have the same mindset as Abraham, the greatest human on earth. He was a great man, a great prophet, a friend of Almighty God. If you want to be a friend of Almighty God, God is waiting for you. If you have that kind of interest, you need to think a little bit more about who Abraham was, what he was thinking about, what was in his mind. That is the interesting part.

God will make you wealthy

Although it sounds like a bad thing, Sarah was taken away by Abimelech. But in the end, Abraham got her back and got 1000 shekels of silver, a lot of sheep, goats, and many other things.

Maybe you are not interested in wealth. But God will give you wealth and make you rich. God is a God who wants us to flourish and prosper. Every time we talk about this, some people will ask ‘Is your Gospel a prosperity theology?’. No! My Gospel is the Gospel of Destiny. We live for God, we die for God, and God is all my life, God is everything. It is not a Gospel of prosperity, it is the Gospel of destiny: what we live for, what we die for. That's why in the end, God will make us wealthy.

Isn’t it wonderful? We can rely on and trust in God. It's a wonderful thing. It is the greatest choice of my life. Why not trust in the Lord? Why do we rely on ourselves? We can't even protect ourselves at all. Even if you can live until you are 60, 70, or 80 years, or probably even 90, 100 years, still doesn’t matter. We still need eternal life. When 10 years passed by and we looked back, it was like flipping a second. Human life is short. But if you look for eternal life, God will give you. God is the only thing I need. That’s what Abraham did. Do you know what happened after that? King Abimelech told Abraham:

“My land is before you; live wherever you like.”(Genesis 20:12)

It was wonderful! If you live in Singapore, and a wealthy person says: “Oh, this is my land, you can choose the land and I will give it to you”. If you take one, you will be a millionaire because the land is worth millions. This is the same as in Abrahams’s era that the land was also worth a lot. And did I say, ‘Oh you can choose the land before you’

He got everything! Abraham got a great name as God made his name great. He got wealth, land, sheep, cattle as well as silver. He got everything in return. He got maids and servants, many male and female slaves that were worth a lot.

Not because we love money, we become wealthy. But let me tell you, if you love God, you are not going to be poor. It's not because Abraham was poor, so God chose him. It was because Abraham was rich, yet he did not love the world. Sometimes I tell people jokingly that they are not qualified to love the word. Is it wrong? You are not qualified to love the word, right? You can't love the word at all. You'd better build up your calibre.

Once people build up their calibre, they start to love the world. When one makes a little bit of money, they start to love the world. How stupid can that be? But before that, she was very poor, the lowest income of the society, probably just scraping the barrel. When she looked around, everyone around her lived above her. She was not even allowed to love the world due to limited income.

Pearl of wisdom

The question is once you have become wealthy, will you still be the one who loves God? When you have plenty of time, you are on your own, have nothing to do, you will go to church, sit there and enjoy the air-con and listen to the sermon. No problem at all. However, once the world gets a little bit busier, you have a little bit more pressure on the study, then God will be side-lined. Because listening to the sermon will be a waste of time for you. There are plenty of these people.

Now I will give you some advice. Love God! Have destiny! Not just in this life but also in eternal life. If we don't stand on an external perspective, looking at life from an eternal point of view, you can never become a prophet, you can never please God. You, just the same as anyone who is walking on the street, have no protection. And God will not give you the blessing and all the money must be hard-earned. Your life will be full of sorrow, no protection, there will also be added sickness and suffering, relationship problems, and many other problems. Your name will not be great either. It's full of sorrow.

So how nice it is to have God's protection. I can tell you that I don't know how to live my life without God. Because with God, everything we need including eternal needs is all satisfied and even more. God will make our name great.

Then why don't we decide to follow in the footsteps of Abraham? The story may not sound very nice, because the wife was taken away. But she totally relied on the protection of God. Yes, the wife was taken away because he lied about the truth. But deep down inside of Abraham, there is a lot of treasure for us to learn from and to follow. And I encourage you and me to follow in the footsteps of Abraham. You will yield a great return! And that return comes from Almighty God.

May the Lord bless you!

Thank you very much!

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