Genesis 20 Part 1 Prophets

From there Abraham journeyed towards the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 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, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said,“Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come,say of me, He is my brother.’”

14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him.15 And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of allwho are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.” 17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18 For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Prophets

I have been called a prophet.  I can’t say it sits comfortably with me.  It sounds pretentious. After all a prophet has a large beard.  I no longer have one of those.   Fat and Frantic, a Christian group from the 80’s said that prophets are completely bald.  They ‘prophesy here.  Prophesy there.  I know I’m a prophet ’cause I got no hair (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EWWI4ikV6g).”  However, silliness aside, what constitutes a prophet?  It is one who speaks God’s truth into a situation.  It may be God’s truth about the future, but it is often God’s truth about the present and the past.  What, then, is truth?  It is speaking the way things really are.

Our generation has a decline in prophets because to speak God’s truth means to speak in absolutes.  As Obi-Wan Kenobi reminded us in Star Wars Episode III, only Sith believe in absolutes.  Yes, apparently that is absolutely true.  Believing in absolutes is imperialistic, dark, and harmful.  Ironically, this has become a cultural absolute in some circles.  We may speak small truths which we have all found on our own little journeys, we may apply the Bible as a personal story without offending anyone else.  However, the only prophets who can speak absolute truths into the public domain are scientists, movie-makers, and musicians.  The religious prophets are fanatics, their followers are lunatics and the religious motivations of social reformers like MLK are silenced.

The passage above is the first time that the word for prophet is used in the Bible.  Araham knows God and he knows how God sees the world.  This is not with omniscience, but it is with accuracy.  Abraham is not God, he does not think he is God, but he can speak for God.  In the same way, when we communicate the thoughts of scripture we are prophets.  We are not God.  We do not think we are God.  But we speak the word of God.

Prayer

Like Abraham, let us be prophets.  Let us speak your truth into the world that is floundering all around us.  First speak it into our lives and let us be pliable and authentic with you.  Show us more truth of our depravity and then bring your healing.  As we are healed let us bring healing to others and to be bold even when healing involves pain.

Questions

  1. What is the problem in the passage?
  2. How do people seek to solve the problem?
  3. What is a prophet?
  4. When do you prophecy?
  5. What is the purpose of your prophetic ministry to others?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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16 Responses to Genesis 20 Part 1 Prophets

  1. Maelynn says:

    1. Abraham lied about his wife and Abimelech took Sarah.
    2. They listen to what God tells them. They talk to the person they had issues with.
    3. One who speaks God truth into a situation.
    4. In daily interactions with my family and friends and when talkimg about the trials they are going through.
    5. To speak God’s truth, letting his Word be the encouragement and guidance that people need.

  2. 1.Abraham lied to Abimelech, asked his wife Sarah to hide the truth, and put her in an awful situation.
    2. Abimelech listens to God and goes to Abraham. He calls him out but he was gracious to Abraham.
    3. A prophet is someone who speaks God’s truth regardless of the whether people consider it right or appropriate.
    4.I hope to whenever I speak with others. I do not want to be intimidated, but to speak God’s truth. Most often I think I do with my family and close friends when we are talking about situations in their lives.
    5. The purpose is to glorify God to the best of my ability by speaking His truth that He might be revealed for who He is in the lives of others.

  3. Jung Kim says:

    1) Abraham told a lie that his wife is his sister. As a result, Abimelech took Sarah.
    2) People seek to solve problems by asking wise people around them. As a Christian, I also go to God to ask for wisdom.
    3) A prophet is someone who speaks on behalf or for God. The prophet speaks the truth through what God has to tell him or her.
    4) I prophecy when it comes to dealing friendship issue or any kinds of issue my friends or sisters bring.
    5) My purpose is to encourage them by sharing the powerful truth that God speaks into my life.

  4. Michael McCardle says:

    What is the problem in the passage?
    The problem in this passage is that Abraham did not trust God to protect him and Sarah. Because of this, Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife and he gave her away to Abimelech.
    How do people seek to solve the problem?
    Abimelech has dialogue and reasons with God.
    What is a prophet?
    Someone who speaks directly for/from God.
    When do you prophecy?
    When I speak the truth of God into other people’s lives
    What is the purpose of your prophetic ministry to others?
    to encourage, be in relationship and to remind others about what is true

  5. Maria T. says:

    1. What is the problem in the passage? The problem is that Abimelech took Sarah for himself because of Abraham’s dishonesty, and God is not pleased.
    2. How do people seek to solve the problem? Abimelech returns Sarah to her husband and gives him silver and land. Abraham prays for Abimelech’s household.
    3. What is a prophet? A prophet is one who speaks God’s truth into a situation. I find it interesting that even though Abraham was a liar, he was still named among the prophets.
    4. When do you prophesy? I prophesy when I speak the words that God would have me speak on His behalf to edify and build others up in truth and love.
    5. What is the purpose of your prophetic ministry to others? To point people to God.

  6. Christa says:

    1. What is the problem in the passage? The problem in the passage is Abraham’s lack of trust in God and his subsequent deception; this causes the following problem of Abimelech taking Sarah into his household
    2. How do people seek to solve the problem? Abraham seeks to solve his fears by lying, Abimelech calls to Abraham to deal with the issue once he is made aware of it
    3. What is a prophet? A prophet is one who speaks on behalf of God to people
    4. When do you prophecy? I prophecy when I speak God’s truth into the lives of those around me
    5. What is the purpose of your prophetic ministry to others? I think the purpose of my prophetic ministry is to share the word of God in order to build up and encourage the body of Christ and to reveal truth in the lives of unbelievers and believers

  7. 1. Abraham told Abimilech that Sarah was his sister not his wife and Abimilech took her.
    2. Listen to and obey God (see what God has to say about it), then they took the issue to the person they had the problem with.
    3. A person who speaks God’s truth into a situation.
    4. Whenever you can speak TRUTH into a family members life or friends. You can prophesy in that moment.
    5. My purpose in any prophetic ministry is to speak Truth into people’s lives and let the Spirit convict and change their hearts.

  8. Megumi says:

    1. Abraham feared that he would be killed and his wife stolen.
    2. Abraham lied that his wife was his sister and let her be taken by King Abimelech.
    3. A prophet speaks the words of God.
    4.I prophesy when I speak the words of God.
    5.That they may know God.

  9. Molly says:

    Abraham has a lack of trust in God and lied about it.

    Abraham seeks to solve the issue by taking into his own hands and lying.

    A prophet is one who speaks the truth on behalf of God for his people

    I prophecy in my interactions with others. I listen to what the spirit is telling me and if he is telling me something needs to be said I will speak that word to the person it was intended for.

    My purpose in prophetic ministry is to be obedient to the Father, to listen to the message he would have me say, and trust that the spirit will finish the work.

  10. Christina W. says:

    1. The problem in the passage was that Abraham lacked trust in God and therefore, lied to Abimelech about who Sarah really was.
    2. In this particular passage, Abraham tried to solve his problem by lying about Sarah being his wife. In the end, Abimelech took her as his own wife because of the lie that Abraham told.
    3. A prophet is someone who speaks the truth of God.
    4. I prophecy when I speak the words of God to someone.
    5. The purpose of my prophetic ministry to others is to speak truth into a world that needs to hear it and to encourage those around me with the word of the Lord.

  11. Christina W. says:

    1. The problem in the passage was that Abraham lacked trust in God and therefore, lied to Abimelech about who Sarah really was.
    2. In this particular passage, Abraham tried to solve his problem by lying about Sarah being his wife. In the end, Abimelech took her as his own wife because of the lie that Abraham told.
    3. A prophet is someone who speaks the truth of God.
    4. I prophecy when I speak the words of God to someone.
    5. The purpose of my prophetic ministry to others is to speak truth into a world that needs to hear it and to encourage those around me with the word of the Lord.

  12. Kimberly W. says:

    1. The problem is Abraham’s deception, rooted in fear, which led to Abimelech taking Sarah to be his wife.
    2. Abimelech, after hearing from God, went to Abraham and confronted Abraham about his lie. He then gifted Abraham with animals and money and returned Sarah to him.
    3. A prophet is one who speaks God’s truth to the people.
    4. Based on the above definition, I prophesy when I teach the Bible and in interactions with friends when I reference biblical truth.
    5. The purpose of my ministry is to show others the love of God and help them grow in their relationship with God.

  13. Olyn says:

    What is the problem in the passage?
    Abraham lies about Sarah being his wife- he didn’t trust God to protect them.

    How do people seek to solve the problem?
    By their own means.

    What is a prophet?
    Someone who speaks truth

    When do you prophecy?
    When you stand up for what is true even when others do not

    What is the purpose of your prophetic ministry to others?
    To be a light and example of truth (though a flawed one) pointing to God

  14. Andrew Moore says:

    1. Abraham deceived Abimelech.
    2. By their own power
    3. Someone who speak’s God’s truth
    4. When God’s truth needs to be proclaimed.
    5. To point people to the truth of God and his love for them.

  15. Nate Silvieus says:

    1. Abraham lied to Abimelech and therefore brought barrenness on Abimelechs household.
    2. Abimelech pleads to God for mercy out of his own innocence and goes and addresses Abraham respectfully and mercifully.
    3. One who proclaims the truths of God’s word into peoples lives and situations.
    4. When I am encouraging people using scripture or teaching the bible, or addressing the sin of a brother.
    5. To explain the truths of God to people with love.

  16. Emmy R says:

    1. The truth was not being told.
    2. He listened to God, sought council, and then went to the source of the issue.
    3. One who shares the Words of God.
    4. When I share the Words of the Lord with others.
    5. To encourage them towards Christ.

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