Big Idea:  The God who redeemed you from sin is the God who restores you when you sin.

I.  Abraham relapsed into lying to protect himself 1-2

1 Abraham moved away from there into the Negev Desert. He lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar.  2 There Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.” Then Abimelech sent for Sarah and took her. He was the king of Gerar.

II.  God rescued Abimelech’s people and Abraham’s people from ruin. 3-13

A.  God’s rescue of Abimelech and his people 3-7

1.  He intervened in Abimelech’s actions 3

3 God came to Abimelech in a dream one night. He said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken. She is already married.”

2.  He interacted with Abimelech 4-6

4 But Abimelech hadn’t gone near her. So he said, “Lord, will you destroy a nation that hasn’t done anything wrong? 5 Didn’t Abraham say to me, ‘She’s my sister’? And didn’t she also say, ‘He’s my brother’? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. I’m not guilty.” 6 Then God spoke to him in the dream. He said, “Yes, I know you had no idea you were doing anything wrong. So I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.

3.  He instructed Abimelech on what he was to do 7

7 “Now return the man’s wife to him. He is a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will live. But what if you do not return her? Then you can be sure that you and all of your people will die.”

B.  God’s rescue of Abraham and his people 8-13

1.  He confronted Abraham’s sin through Abimelech 8-10

8 Early the next morning Abimelech sent for all of his officials. He told them everything that had happened. They were really afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham in. He said, “What have you done to us? Have I done something wrong to you? Why have you brought so much guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that shouldn’t be done.” 10 Abimelech also asked Abraham, “Why did you do this?”

2.  He compelled Abraham to publically explain his behavior to Abimelech 11-13

11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There isn’t any respect for God in this place at all. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister. She’s the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13 “God had me wander away from my father’s house. So I said to her, ‘Here is how you can show your love to me. Everywhere we go, say about me, “He’s my brother.” ‘ “

III.  God restored Abraham, Sarah, Abimelech and his household…and the world  14-18

A.  …the restoration of Abraham 14-15, 17a

14 Then Abimelech gave Abraham sheep and cattle and male and female slaves. He also returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelech said, “Here is my land. Live anywhere you want to.”  17 Then Abraham prayed to God.

1.  Materially 14-15

2.  Spiritually 17a

B.  …the restoration of Sarah in her marriage and her reputation 16

16 He said to Sarah, “I’m giving your brother 25 pounds of silver. It will take care of the problem we caused you. And all those who are with you will know that you aren’t guilty of doing anything wrong.”

C.  …the restoration of Abimelech and his household 17-18

17 Then Abraham prayed to God. And God healed Abimelech. He also healed his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again. 18 The LORD had kept the women in Abimelech’s house from having children. He had done it because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

Cf. 12:3:  Note, the Abrahamic Covenant remains despite disobedience in God’s people—that is the nature of an unconditional covenant.

D.  …the restoration of hope for the world: the Promised Child would be born to the old couple!

The threat to the paternity (who the father was) of the child that would be born the next year (!) was removed.

Application: How God responds to relapses at Grace Bible Church.

A preliminary observation about Relapse and Recovery: We all are prone relapse into sinful habits and behaviors and patterns.  The bible doesn’t present these stories to tell us to “Be like Abraham,” or, “Don’t be like Abraham,” as if “being like Abraham” could save us.  No, the Bible’s message to me is, “You’re just like Abraham already.  He failed.  You fail.  He got up.  You get up.  He struggled with longstanding issues of disobedience in his life—you struggle with the same.  He found salvation in simply believing in God—you find salvation in simply believing in God.”  My point is—you don’t have to try to be like Abraham—you and I are already like Abraham—that’s our problem!

Rescue from Relapse:  How does our merciful God Father restore us when we’ve relapsed into sinful habits?

He reveals our sin: By many varieties of communication, God confronts our sinful behavior.

He requires that we admit our sin: Though it offends our pride, we are required to “own up” to what we’ve done or said.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Confess = “homo” + “Lego” (to speak)  Confession is agreeing with God about your sin.

Psalm 32:1 A Psalm of David. A Maskil. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!  3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.  5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

He replaces the trust we had in our own efforts with a trust in Him alone to continue to save and bless us.