Fearing Retribution: Genesis 20:8
“And Abimelek went early in the morning and called to all of his servants and he spoke of all the these things in their ears. The men were very afraid.”
Abimelek is appropriately afraid of the threat that is given and rushes to tell his servants what has taken place during the night. The Hebrew verb that describes Abimelek telling the servants is in what is called the Piel stem, which typically indicates an intense, repeated action. One can almost imagine Abimelek, agitated and fearful, rushing down to tell his servants that they needed to get Sarah back to Abraham. There is almost a comical element to the picture in question as the king sheds all of his royal stateliness and rushes to tell his servants of what took place. The language of telling it to them “in their ears” is an idiom that reflects his making sure that everyone in his household was aware of what had taken place. Here is a man of power that has been rattled in a way that he likely has never been rattled before.
Our God indeed knows how to raise up kings but also to lay them low, humbling them into the dust (Ezekiel 17:24). Such is the way in this world that he governs by his providence. And such is still the way of God in this world. How often, both in ancient and in modern times that God has brought down kings to humble them as well as raised up peasants to positions of great influence. He is God and it is His right to do so. How pompous we get sometimes, though, thinking we are of great power and influence in this world of His.
Loved ones, take this message to heart, for none of us are free from the temptation toward pride and presumption. It matters not whether we are the pastor or president, a committee chairman in church or Chairman of the Board of a Fortune 500 company; God will drop us to our knees if we allow pride to swell in our breasts. God is not only preserving Sarah in this event, but he is also putting the powerful in their place before him. God continues to humble the proud and to lift up the humble so that His hand can be seen in the history of mankind. The key for us is to submit to that hand of providence and to the word he has given us as a guide. Then indeed, we may live faithfully before our almighty God.