Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sarah Day 4: Watching and Waiting

...we view our trials as (gloomy clouds). Instinctively we want to run from approaching shadows. But if we would look more closely through the eyes of faith, we'd see a host of angels coming with deliverance and hope. It's really true that with God every cloud has its silver lining.

Some of us never see God's miraculous provision, because we're too busy trying to fulfill our needs through the arm of flesh.

Did you know that the first time the term prophet is used in Scripture is when Abraham was in a season of moral failure?...In reality, there is no such thing as sinless perfection for leaders or laypersons.As Christians we aim to sin less and less. But when we fail, we can still find forgiveness....The truth is we should be looking for sin in our own hearts before doing exploratory surgery on others.

Today we are reading from Genesis 20:8-13.

1.a. What did Abimelech do next?

He confronted Abraham about what he had done.

b. How did others respond?

They were afraid, terrified!

2. How do you know that Abraham's deception was far reaching?

His decision to deceive them frightened others, not only Abimelech. This would affect everyone in the land where he was a deceptor. It would affect Abimelech's entire kingdom.

3.a. Rephrase Abimelech's final question to Abraham.

He basically asked him what he was thinking when he did such a thing as this.

b. Describe how this might have made Abraham feel.

It reminds me of what an adult, particularly a parent, might ask a teenager or tween when he/she has done something without much thought to the consequences. I'm sure it made him feel inferior and dumb.

4. What two excuses did Abraham give for his ploy?

First he said that he wasn't sure that there was no fear of God in the land and that they would kill him to get to Sarah. He then said that they had arranged that when traveling, Sarah would always refer to herself as Abraham's sister instead of his wife since they were, indeed, half siblings.

5. How did he rationalize his deception?

As I said before, he justified himself since they were indeed half-siblings.

6. a. Rephrase Abraham's instructions to Sarah.

He pretty much said Do me a favor, pretend that you aren't my wife when we travel, let's just say that you're my sister instead.

b. How would a request like this make you feel?

I'd honestly be wondering what he was going to try to get away with that he didn't want to claim to be married to me! I would feel as though he was ashamed of me.

7. The fear of the Lord affected a king and his kingdom as Abimelech sought to right the wrong he had committed. Fill in the following chart to discover the benefits of fearing God.

Psalm 111:10:
fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and those who follow His teachings have good understanding.

Proverbs 10:27: The fear of the Lord expands your life.

Proverbs 14:26-27: The fear of the Lord builds up confidence and makes the world safe for your children. It is a spring of Living Water so that you don't drink from poisoned wells.

Proverbs 22:4:
If you fear the Lord, the payoff will be plenty and honor and a satifying life.

8. Abimelech was aware that his actions as a ruler of the nation would impact his nation. Explain whether you believe that this principle is true. Use examples from history or current events to make your point.

I most definitely agree! I think that when the inhabitants of a nation realize that those who are supposed to be leading them are doing so in an immoral or dishonest manner, it hurts the nation as a whole. The confidence in their leader, and therefore in themselves as a nation, is diminished. They lose respect for their leader, and become more cynical. I believe that this happened when Bill Clinton lied to the American people in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. We lost faith in him and in government as a whole, and truly haven't totally recovered from it yet. It was only the start of a side of partisanship that has hurt the country as well.

9. Sarah was put in a difficult situation concerning whether to obey God or her husband. First Peter 3:1-6 sheds insight into her decision making. Read the text; then answer the following questions.

a. How are women encouraged to handle disobedient husbands (vv.1-2)?

We are to be an example to them by our life of holy beauty.

b. Compare and contrast inner and outer beauty (vv. 3-4)?

Inner beauty is being gentle, gracious, and a person in which God delights. The holy women of old were good, loyal wives in this manner. By contrast, outer beauty such as the styling of hair, jewelry, or clothing will not have such an effect on others.

c. How did "holy women" reveal that they trusted God (v.5)?

They did so by their gentle, gracious, and kind inner beauty, and by being good loyal wives to their husbands.

d. What things did Sarah do and not do to make herself a godly woman? (v.6)?

Sarah addressed Abraham as her dear husband, and took care of him. She was also unanxious and unintimidated. She did not revel in her outer beauty, but treated Abraham in a respectful manner in all her ways, as did her devotion to the Lord.

The lesson ends with a quote by John Ruskin:
The essence of lying is in deception, not in words: a lie may be told by silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence.