Sin has many tools but a lie is a handle that fits them all.
If the truth is stretched, expect it eventually to fly back and sting you.
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.
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.
9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.
10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.
12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.
14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.
15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.
16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.
17 ¶ So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.
Genesis 20 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 20:1-18 – Abraham Again Denies His Wife
It is wonderful that Abraham should fall like this. He had walked with God for so many years, and experienced so many deliverances, that we should have expected him to have reached an unassailable position. But the best of men are men at the best; and God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, remembers that we are dust. He often steps in by His providence to intercept the full consequences of our wrongdoing, provided always that our heart is really true to Him. There is delightful reassurance in the words, “I… withheld thee.” God may have to chastise His children for their backslidings, but He will not hand them over to the will of their enemies, nor allow His covenant to fail. He rebukes king’s for the sake of His people. See Psalm 105:15. There is a high-toned morality in some who are outside our religious pale, which may put us to shame. It crops up in unexpected places, as here in Abimelech’s remonstrance. It was terrible that He was compelled to address Abraham as in Genesis 20:9. God has direct dealings with such men, but they need our prayer and help. See Genesis 20:3, 17. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Genesis 20:6 – I also withheld thee from sinning against Me.
As we review our lives, we can see many occasions on which our feet had well-nigh gone—our steps were on the very brink of the precipice. Another inch, and we should have brought shame on Christ and lasting remorse to ourselves. To what can we attribute our escape but to the grace of God, which withheld us, even though we failed to recognize it?
He does not withhold us from temptation.—He could not do so without serious and permanent loss. The waves of ink will surge up against the white marble palace of the soul. To us, as to our Lord, fresh from under the opened heavens, the tempter will come. What the fire is in fixing the color on the porcelain vase, that temptation is in rendering permanent the lessons and impressions made by God’s providence and grace.
He does not withhold us from occasions in which it would be easy to transgress.—Abimelech was not hindered from taking Sarah into his palace. The door of occasion and opportunity stood open before him; but he was withheld from the fatal act. We must never infer that occasion confers license. The fact of an opportunity being present does not warrant indulgence in wrong-doing.
If God withheld Abimelech, who did not seek his special help, how much more those that seek Him!—You are not insensible of the perils of your life; but wait earnestly and persistently on God. Are you more eager to be kept than He to keep? Did He not implant that desire? Will He not do exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think? Is not the good Shepherd strong enough to keep one poor trembling sheep? Begone, unbelief! My God whom I serve is able to deliver, and He will! (Daniel 3:17). —Our Daily Homily