One of my favorite books, Restoring the Foundations, contains a series of case studies. One-chapter references two families which lived in the United States in the 18th century. The blessed family is filled with amazing accomplishments and distinguished careers for a couple of generations. The cursed family was plagued by addiction, bad habits, crime and premature death. While some may say this is merely a coincidence, I believe this to be a clear distinction of the blessed and cursed based upon Moses words in Deuteronomy 28.
Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham and restored to him Sarah his wife. 15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you; dwell wherever it pleases you. 16 And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given this brother of yours a thousand pieces of silver; see, it is to compensate you [for all that has occurred] and to vindicate your honor before all who are with you; before all men you are cleared and compensated. 17 So Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his female slaves, and they bore children, 18 For the Lord had closed fast the wombs of all in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, Genesis 20:14-18.
In today’s featured passage, Abraham misled King Abimelech, saying Sarah was his sister. While this is technically true, Abraham was afraid if he told the truth, they were married that Abimelech might kill him and take Sarah to be his wife. Despite Abraham’s lack of faith in God, Proverbs 3:5-6, King Abimelech blessed Abraham and Sarah with a series of gifts. This is hard to comprehend, rewarded for not being transparent. Nonetheless, the king’s kind gesture is a clear sign of God’s hand over Abraham’s life.
And Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him, for he feared to dwell in Zoar; and he lived in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 The elder said to the younger, Our father is aging, and there is not a man on earth to live with us in the customary way. 32 Come, let us make our father drunk with wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring (our race) through our father. 33 And they made their father drunk with wine that night, and the older went in and lay with her father; and he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she arose, Genesis 19:30-33.
The same can’t be said about Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Despite living near each other for a decade with each growing in prosperity, Lot ran into a stretch of bad luck. Prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot is taken as a prisoner of war. After returning to his home, two angels warn Lot of God’s pending judgment, forcing him to abandon all of his possessions. Future son in laws laugh in Lot’s face, leaving them both to die. During their abrupt departure, Lot’s wife is killed, leaving him alone with his two daughters. The remaining passage magnifies the distinction between the blessings of Abraham and curses of Lot.
by Jay Mankus