“Now, return the wife of this man, for he is a prophet and he will pray on your behalf so you will live. And if you do not return her, know that you will surely die—you and all who are yours.”
What I find fascinating about this encounter is that even though the event took place as a result of Abraham’s lie, it is Abimelek that is threatened by God. As before, God turns this event on its head to benefit Abraham and to better situate Abraham in terms of the promise. In Egypt, Abraham was given the wealth of the kings to leave; here, he is given flocks and 1,000 pieces of silver as well as an invitation to remain on the land and God opened the wombs of those in Abimelek’s house which had been closed as Gods judgment while Sarah resided in Abimelek’s household.
Yet notice that even though the sin is Abimelek’s, his whole household pays the price and suffers judgement. And, had Abimelek not returned Sarah to Abraham, God threatens to destroy his entire household. Once again the principle of Federal Headship is illustrated by this point. Those who are under the authority of the head of the household are held guilty of his sin. The good news about Federal Headship, of course, is that those who have faith in Jesus Christ have their Federal Head in him and thus, we are no longer condemned by the sin of our forebears, but stand in the righteousness of Christ. That is good and joyful news!
Beloved, as we reflect upon these narratives, do not miss the theological principles that are contained within; God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, thus we ought to expect that he would interact with us as his people in essentially the same way today as he did more than 4,000 years ago when Abraham was walking in Canaan. Our God redeems and he does so through working faith in the lives of those he calls his own. We should never cease to be thankful for this grace.
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!