The account of Abimelech’s Dream begins with “But” so I have to look back and see what prompted this dream encounter…
In Genesis 20:1-2 we are told about Abraham and Sarah’s journey which saw them arriving in Gerar:
- “And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.'” Genesis 20:2 ESV
This isn’t the first time we have seen Abraham use this line. Glance back at Genesis 12:10-20…“Say you are my sister” (v13) was Abrahams request of his wife Sarah. The Lord intervened and revealed the truth to Pharaoh through affliction and plagues, hence preserving the covenant promise.
So here we find Abraham making the same mistake again, not trusting God, and believing he has to be the protector of Sarah, rather than letting God be her protector! Then come those AWESOME words…
These two words have resolved a lot of conflict in my heart and life. These two words have restored me to God and redeemed me from a life of slavery to sin. These two words have rescued me from failure and defeat. These two words…they are enough to fill a room full of praise! I am sure you can also see many “But God” moments in your life.“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.” Genesis 20:3-7 ESV
God uses this dream to reveal the truth to Abimelech, that Sarah is actually the wife of Abraham. God also reveals the truth that it is only by His power that He has kept Abimelech from sinning by knowing Sarah intimately.
By revealing Himself to Abimelech, God protected His people by protecting the integrity and purity of Sarah. He protected His plan by preserving Sarah for Abraham alone. It was part of God’s covenant promise that Sarah would bear a son by Abraham.
- “I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”…God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.” Genesis 17:16 and 19
God intervened in a dream in order to protect His people and His plan for His people! This dream also includes the first mention of “pray” and “prophet” in Scripture. He is also making known His plans for Abraham and setting the stage for His glory to be revealed when Abraham intercedes in prayer on behalf of Abimelech, leaving no doubt that Abraham is indeed one of God’s chosen people (Genesis 20:17).
Our job here is to learn from Abraham! I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of God being required to appear to someone in a dream to protect me due to a lie I have told, or the way I have deceived someone, or for not trusting Him to protect me. I do however take comfort in knowing that He has the power to and that He would. He would because He loves me, He cares for me, and He has a plan for my life that He wants to see come to fruition ~ and He also has a plan for your life!
Maybe you have been Abimelech in this story. Maybe you have been in the place of wronging someone unintentionally and without knowledge. God might not appear to you in a dream. It might be in a quiet whisper…or in the voice of a friend. Be ready to heed that warning and have the courage to allow God to work through you in order to protect His people, and His plans!
All this makes me wonder if God uses dreams in this way today. I have no doubt that He does to be honest. I believe that God still uses dreams to reveal knowledge to people. Knowledge that will in turn protect His people, and His plans. However, we now have something even better that God’s people in Old Testament days did not ~ we have the Holy Spirit!🙂 You can find my other 31 Days to Dream posts here!