Gen. 20:1, 2 Abimelech takes Sarah

Gen. 20:1 "And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah."

This is the same story that got Abraham and Sarah in trouble in Egypt with Pharaoh.  Abraham said of Sarah that she is my sister.  He failed to mention that she was his wife.  Telling the truth involves more than just not telling a lie, but to tell the truth means not withholding information in order to mislead someone else.  Abraham and Sarah withheld information so as to mislead Abimelech, king of Gerar.  When Abraham had gone to Egypt, he feared that the men of Egypt would look upon his beautiful wife and slay him to take her.  This also shows a failure to trust in the Lord to provide for their safety. 

What is remarkable that Abraham and Sarah told this story in Gerar is that Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in age.  According to Gen. 18:11 both Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age: "Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women."  Abimilech was a young Philistine King.  Why would he want a woman that was old and well-stricken in age?  Young men will not normally look wantonly at a 90 year old woman.  Yet, Abimelech took Sarah unto himself. 

We must remember that God had told Abraham and Sarah that he would restore them to the time of life and that at God's set time in the next year, Sarah would bear Abraham a son: Gen. 18:10 "And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him."  Based on what we read in Genesis chapter 20 Abraham and Sarah were returned to their youth so as to bear a son in their old age.  God fulfilled his promise to Abraham and Sarah as he returned to them the time of life. 

Gen. 20:3-8 God Rebukes Abimelech

Gen. 20:3 "But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. 4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? 5 Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. 6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. 7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. 8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid." 

God knows the thoughts and intents of our heart.  He knows more than just our actions, but he knows also what we are thinking and what we are intending to do.  Abimelech had not touched Sarah and truly thought that she was Abraham's sister.  However, from the above it is apparent that Abimelech had plans to take Sarah.  His statement about the integrity of his heart was just hollow words as God said to Abimelech that he had withheld him from sinning against God.  It wasn't the integrity of Abimelech's heart that prevented him from taking Sarah, but the fact that God withheld him from sinning that prevented him from touching Sarah. 

God was watching over this godly couple even when they were not completely forthcoming in what they told others.  God providentially prevented Abimelech from taking Sarah.  This is another example of God's grace towards his elect children. 

From the above it is also apparent that Abimelech feared God.  Unlike Pharaoh in the days of Moses who hardened his heart against God, Abimelech believed what God told him.  Abimelech both believed that he was God and that he would do what he said.  Furthermore, his servants were also afraid of the pronouncement from God that they were all dead men if Abimelech did not restore Sarah to Abraham.  Abimelech also believed that God would also keep his promise that when he restored Sarah to Abraham that Abraham would pray for Abimelech and he would live.  Abimelech, of course, restored Sarah to Abraham.