Today's reading is quite interesting and leaves food for thought. First, we might want to know what was it about Avraham's family that is so important. Avraham marries his half sister, Sarah. His son Yitzhak marries his cousin, Rebekka. Yakov, his son marries his cousins, Rakhel and Leah. Avraham & Sarah, Yitzhak & Rebekka, and Yakov and Rakhel are all ancestors of King David and of our Messiah, Yeshua. (and let us not forget Lot, Avraham's nephew, who also is an ancestor of King David and Yeshua through Ruth.) We note in passing, they are all descendents of Terah, who left the land of Ur to go to Canaan with his family, but got sidetracked in Haran, (Was a familial blessing the result of Terah being willing to leave for Canaan?)
Now for the story. Avimalekh has taken Avraham's wife, believing her to be Avraham's sister. Yahwey appears to Avimalech in a dream and informs him of what he has done. He also tells Avimalekh that he protects the innocent. In the light of some of the disasters we have had this year, we might wonder if God really protects all the innocent, but, if we seek we shall find answers. In Sirach we are told that God takes some people from this life at a young age, because they will not be able to resist temptation. An interesting thought, because indirectly, it means that we, with God's help CAN resist temptation. The question is whether we will decide to or not. With God, we have the power, but many of us will not fight, and will fall into sin. So be confident. If you are here, with the power of God, you can resist whatever temptation it is. Thirdly, trials, temptations and tribulations build us up as good Christians.
But the lesson is important as well in what it says about God and Avraham. In this lesson, Avraham doesn't show in particular great trust in God. He is afraid Avimalekh will kill him to take his wife Sarah, and doesn't seem to trust God to take care of the situation. But take care of the situation is exactly what Yahweh does. Not only does God protect Sarah's innocence, but he sends a dream to Avimalekh, and to make sure Avimalekh is listening, he makes every animal and person barren until the situation is taken care of. Now we note, once Sarah is taken, Avraham did nothing to cure the situation, he had total faith in God to work it out and God did. It is important to look at Avraham's relationship with God. Avraham was a man who love and trusted God. He was God's friend, and I often picture Avraham being like Tevya in "Fiddler on the Roof," sharing with God his problems and preoccupations. God was eminently real to him, in a way that he does not seem to be real to most of us. Avraham (and David, and the prophets) knew that the spiritual realm is just as important as the physical realm. Their friendship with God was a true complete friendship, which resulted in blessings. (bear in mind blessings does not mean riches, and can be both spiritual and/or physical. Long term friendship with God, leads us to become more like God. Just as older couples come to resemble each other through years of intimacy, the more we become like God, when we make him a regular part of our lives through studying the word of God, prayer, and obedience to him.
Lastly we note Avraham's forgiveness. He prayed for Avimalekh to be healed. How many of us would be so charitable to one who took our spouse from us? Love, prayer for, and taking care of our enemies, is deeply entrenched in the Tanakh and the New Testament.