“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy.”
Genesis 20 seems like a rerun of Genesis 12:10-20. Didn’t Abraham already try to pass his wife off as his sister? Yes—and he did it…again! Just like us, Abraham gave in to fear instead of leaning into faith. And just like last time, Abraham offers up his own wife to save his own life, putting God’s promise at risk, and giving God even more reason to end him!
But…God is gracious…and God is merciful. God gives us what we don’t deserve (grace), and doesn’t give us what we do deserve (mercy).
Even after his failure of faith (again), Abraham walks away with a gift from Abimelech—sheep, oxen, servant, and land. But that gift pales in comparison to what Abraham is about to graciously receive from God: a gift of grace, a symbol of mercy—given by God to a man and a woman who have given God every right and every reason to forsake them. And yet…God didn’t, and God doesn’t.
You probably have a long list of reasons God could have to forsake you. Maybe you feel He has every right to forget all about you. And the thought of Him giving you a gift seems…laughable! Know this—though your list may be long, God chooses to forget. Though you feel forsaken, the fact is He will never leave you. He is gracious. He is merciful. He has given you a symbol of the greatest gift ever given to undeserving humanity--bread and wine…His body and His blood—a new covenant that gives you what you don’t deserve and not giving you what you do deserve.
Have you accepted His gift? Have you forgotten His promises? Return to Him and receive from Him—“So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” –Joel 2:13
Listen to our time in Genesis 20 and remember that God is gracious and God is merciful.