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Scripture Study of the word Heal--Part Two

Before each lesson, I ask everyone to first take a moment to pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you as you as you study His Word.  He speaks to each of us exactly where we are if we will open our hearts and minds to His voice.  I pray this blesses you and helps you grow in our Lord.


Genesis 20:17-18

     “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children. (18) For the LORD had caused all the women to be infertile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.”


According to my research in the Strong’s Concordance Online, Genesis 20:17 is the first book of the Bible which uses of the word “heal”, or in this case a derivative of the word, in the King James Bible.  While it does tell of a physical healing, the surrounding Scripture offers a deeper glimpse into a healing which goes beyond the physical.  Please take a moment to read the entire chapter of Genesis 20.  It is only 18 verses so it will not take you long.  I will wait for you right here ……..


Yay, you are back!  Good stuff, right?  Does it sound vaguely familiar?  


Back in Genesis 12:11-13, Abram told, and then instructed Sarai his wife to tell, this same half-truth because he feared death.  Even after all the things God had spoken and promised to Abram; Abram had lost faith in God protection. 


Looks like history really does repeat itself because here in Genesis 20 once again we see Abraham telling a half-truth, and Sarah again going along with it. (Take note Abram is now called Abraham and Sarai is now called Sarah.)  This half-truth could have caused another man, King Abimelech, to commit adultery which was a very serious sin in Biblical times.  Mind you, Abimelech is completely innocent because he has been lied to by both Abraham and Sarah. (chpt. 20 vs 5)   


We don’t really know how long Sarah was in King Abimelech’s palace.  What we do know is what verse 18 of Genesis chapter 20 tells us,


      “For the LORD had caused all the women to be interfile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.”


I believe we can safely assume it must have been some amount of time.  Perhaps Sarah was going through a ritualistic cleansing before becoming one of the King’s harem? 

We really do not know. What we do know is one evening Abimelech sends for Sarah and brings her to his palace; however, he did not sleep with her.  God protected Abimelech from sinning with Sarah.  That same night God comes to Abimelech in a dream and reveals Sarah is a married woman.  God proceeds to give Abimelech an ultimatum.  He can return Sarah to Abraham or King Abimelech and all his people will die. 


Isn’t it amazing God prevented Abimelech for unknowingly committing a sin?  Vs. 6

“Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her.”


Abimelech had no idea what he was about to get himself into yet God, in His gracious mercy, stopped him.  It makes me ask myself how many times has God intervened in my life without my knowing.  How many times has He stopped me from unknowingly committing a sin?  The Bible tells us God is always with us so He can be sure He is working in ways we can and cannot see.  I do not know about you, but this brings great comfort and peace in my life.


So where does the healing part in this story come in?  Genesis 20:17


     “So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.”


At first thought, I wondered, “Why would God punish Abimelech when he had not done anything wrong?”  We read in verse 17 “… and God healed Abimelech …”   As I studied and prayed, I soon realized God was not punishing Abimelech, He was protecting him from committing the sin of adultery. 

God was also protecting Abraham and Sarah.  He had promised Abraham that He would make his descendants as numerous as the grains of sand on the shore.  He promised him a son.


Strong’s Concordance number 07495 list Rapha’ (raw-faw) as the root word for healed used in the context of Genesis 20:17.  One of the definitions listed is a figurative meaning---healing of individual distresses.  Perhaps this meaning best fits this particular word for healed in our Scripture study.


Abimelech was terrified when he learned in a dream from God that Abraham and Sarah were married.  Perhaps he realized at this very moment why he was not able to have children.  Remember the Scripture later says “God healed Abimelech.”  What did He heal Abimelech from?  Of course we do not know because the Bible does not tell us but let’s think about it for a moment.  If God had made Abimelech impotent this would be absolutely devastating for a King!  It meant no heir to his throne.  


God was not punishing Abimelech; God was protecting him, and His promise to Abraham and Sarah, by intervening.  God made Himself known to Abimelech in a real way.  I think we can deduce Abimelech realized Abraham’s God was powerful after his encounter with God in a dream.  My guess, a very vivid dream.  The kind of dream you wake up from and never forget.  I wonder sometimes if we realize just how powerful and hands-on our God really is.  His plan exceeds anything we could ever imagine. He is always at work behind the scene, protecting us from even ourselves.


Thankfully, this story had a happy ending.  We read in verse 17 Abraham prayed for Abimelech and God healed him.  What gets me here is why did Abraham have to pray in order for God to heal Abimelech?  God could have instantly healed Abimelech and his entire palace once Sarah was safely back in her husband’s arms.  So why did God tell Abimelech in vs 7 “…for he is a prophet, he will pray for you and you shall live”? 


I believe God reveals Himself to each of us based on our individual personalities.  Abimelech needed to know the God of Abraham.  God revealed Himself in a dream and then, after a prayer from His prophet Abraham, God revealed Himself through healing.  


How does God reveal Himself to you?  Are you listening and watching for Him in your life?  Sometimes things in our lives are not as we first perceive them.  We must always remember what Paul says in Romans 8:2 

“For we KNOW that ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love GOD…”


God’s first concern for us as believers is always our Spiritual well-being.  The same could be said for Abimelech.  “…God healed Abimelech, …”  He healed Abimelech spiritually by helping him NOT make a very big mistake then God healed him physically through the faithful prayers of Abraham, His chosen one.


Always loving our Lord,


Lori Robbins

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