Long before Israel settled between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, their ancestor Abraham sojourned throughout the territory with his wife Sarah. Abraham was wealthy and often made other nations feel threatened. Whenever Abraham moved to or was passing by a new city, the leadership of that city took note.
The culture of the time was that if a powerful king liked a woman, even if she was married, he could kill the husband and take the wife for himself. It is on this premises that when Abraham made his way to Gerar, he’s concerned that his wife is so attractive that Gerar’s king, Abimlelech, will kill him just to be with her. So Abraham has deviced a plan: he just tells everyone Sarah is his sister.
When they got there, Abimelech did like the 89 years old Sarah and took her into his harem, but before he goes anywhere near the woman, God comes to him in a dream.
Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the Negev (the South country), and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he lived temporarily in Gerar. 2 Abraham [a]said [again] of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So [b]Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took [c]Sarah [into his harem]. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream during the night, and said, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken [as your wife], for she is another man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not yet come near her; so he said, “Lord, will you kill a people who are righteous and innocent and blameless [regarding Sarah]? 5 Did Abraham not tell me, ‘She is my sister?’ And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this in the integrity of your heart, for it was I who kept you back and spared you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not give you an opportunity to touch her. 7 So now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her [to him], know that you shall die, you and all who are yours (your household).”
8 So Abimelech got up early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things; and the men were terrified. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I offended you that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me what ought not to be done [to anyone].” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you encountered or seen [in us or our customs], that you have done this [unjust] thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely there is no fear or reverence of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she actually is my [half] sister; she is the daughter of my father [Terah], but not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 When God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This kindness and loyalty you can show me: at every place we stop, say of me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him [as God commanded]. 15 So Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.” 16 Then to Sarah he said, “Look, I have given this brother of yours a [d]thousand pieces of silver; it is to compensate you [for all that has happened] and to vindicate your honor before all who are with you; before all men you are cleared and compensated.” 17 So Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, and they again gave birth to children, 18 for the Lord had securely closed the wombs of all [the women] in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Genesis 20:1-18Amp
Lessons From Abimelech’s Literal Dream
1. You can have an encounter with God in a dream
The Bible says that God came to Abimelech in a dream during the night, and said… This was Abimelech’s encounter with God. An encounter is defined as an unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something. Encountering God means coming face to face with the greatest being in existence – and this leaves us at a very advantaged place. The instructions from God can and will propel you further in life and even sometimes, as was the case with Abimelech, save your life from death. If Abimelech had not had this encounter, then he would have died together with his family and everything that belonged to him.
An encounter with God also brings healing and productivity. After Abimelech received the instructions for Abraham to pray for him, we see that his wife and all his maids received healing from barrenness and became productive again.
2. Take the first opportunity to excute the instructions from God
The following morning, very early, Abimelech told his dream to his servants and did what God had instructed him in the dream. When you receive a literal dream, you have to do what was said to you at the earliest point according to the instructions.
Sometimes we can disregard instructions given and jeopardize our lives, families and ministries/assignments. Do what you have been told to do. Disobedience is detestable to God. Colossians 3:6 states that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience. This, plus over 40 scriptures in the Bible talk against disobedience.
I have also come to relaize that delayed obedience or slow obedience is also disobedience. God works with timings because the instructions are not only about you but will always have a bigger picture involving many other people. Therefore, you being able to do what has been asked of you at the right time, is very critical.
The most significant consequences of disobedience was when Saul spared king Agag and the fat animals because he feared his men more than he feared God. This is what prophet Samuel says to him,
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king. 1 Samuel 15:23
Saul lost his kingship all the way to generations coming after him in his lineage, because of disobedience. God valued obedience above sacrifices that Saul intended to make – this remains true today. What has God spoken to you today that you need to be obedient to right away?
3. Share your dreams with the right people
We see that Abimelech rose up early morning and shared the dream with his servants. These are the people he needed to help him prepare and execute the instructions provided in the dream.
He took sheep, oxen, and slaves as a gift to Abraham. He also took a thousand pieces of silver to Abraham to compensate and honour Sarah. He would have needed his servants to help him in putting these gifts together and delivering to Abraham.
4. When God is with you, there is nothing men can do to you
Abraham had received the promise from God that his descendants shall be numerous in the land and that God would bless the nations through him. He did not need to fear that Abimelech would kill him for Sarah. She herself, was also protected as she was the one God was going to use to birth the nations.
Both Abraham and Sarah were protected and that is why God kept Abimelech from sinning with her.
Because of the God’s promise over your life, no man can harm you unless the Lord allows – and it will always be for a purpose according to the plans He has for you. This should give us confidence to walk this life knowing that God is in control and can and will protect us from any harm that would derail His promise and purposes over our lives.
5. Sarah was an important part of the covenant
Sarah had received the promise from God in chapter 18 where the birth of Isaac was promised. God was not going to allow Abimelech to defile her and get her out of that promise.
When we understand our calling and that we are important part of God’s agenda and purposes on the earth, we will learn to trust more in His ability to protect and keep us against all derailments.
6. The enemy intensifies attacks closer to the fulfillment of God’s promises
We see this possible derailment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah happened in chapter 20. The next chapter, 21 starts with…
The Lord graciously remembered and visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for her as He had promised. 2 So Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Genesis 21:1-2
If Abimelech would have taken Sarah as a wife, the promise of God upon her whould have been broken. The enemy’s plan was for that to happen. But God remains faithful and was watching over His Word to perform it in Abraham and Sarah’s lives.
So when you encounter challenges, you need to evaluate and see if the enemy is attacking you because God’s promise is about to be fulfilled.
What is God's Promise / Instruction to You?
Every human being born on earth has a purpose and promise over their lives.
God says to Jeremiah in chapter 1 verse 5 that before God formed him in the womb He knew Jeremiah and approved of him as God’s chosen instrument. Before Jeremiah was born, God consecrated him to Himself as His own and appointed Jeremiah as a prophet to the nations. This is true for every himan being – not being appointed as a prophet to the nations but the former part. That God knows every human being before they are conceived. And that He appoints each and eevery one of us to be something in this life.
Our part is to understand what that something is and walk in it. This purpose is what brings us fulfillment as we do it because we function as we are supposed to.
This also gives us confidence to walk boldly in our assignments because we know what we are intended for. What is God’s purpose for you?
The best example is Jesus life. He says in Hebrews 10:6-7,
When Christ enters into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But [instead] You have prepared a body for Me [to offer]; In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no delight.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God—[To fulfill] what is written of Me in the scroll of the book.’
Jesus understood His purpose and assignment on the earth. He knew what had been written in the books about Him. So when there is a storm at sea and the disciples asked Him why He did not care that they would perish, He is confident that drowning in a storm is not how he was going to die. When they stone Him in Judea, He goes back again after a few days because He was confident that stoning was not how He was going to die. The writtings were clear that He was going to be crucified on the cross.
How would life be so simplified if we understood what our purpose on earth is?