Today's Devotional

Focusing Outside of Ourselves (16 September)

Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and at the same time he gave him sheep, cattle, and slaves. He said to Abraham, "Here is my whole land; live anywhere you like." He said to Sarah, "I am giving your brother a thousand pieces of silver as proof to all who are with you that you are innocent; everyone will know that you have done no wrong." Because of what had happened to Sarah, Abraham's wife, the Lord had made it impossible for any woman in Abimelech's palace to have children. So Abraham prayed for Abimelech, and God healed him. He also healed his wife and his slave women, so that they could have children.
Genesis 20:14-18

It is possible to see a certain ironic humor in this part of the story. Here is Abraham, not yet the patriarch, because he does not yet have the child God has promised him. Abimelech, the king of Gerar, has been attracted enough to Abraham's eight-nine year old wife to ask for her. The presence of Sarah in Abimelech's house has caused all of his other wives to become barren.

Abimelech recognizes that Abraham is a man of God, and it seems he asked Abraham to pray that God would heal his women so that they can become pregnant.

This is where it becomes amusing. For twenty-four years Abraham has had a promise from God that he would have children, but his wife has not gotten pregnant. Abraham has spoken to God about this on several occasions that are recorded in the Bible, and we can be sure that it was a regular matter of prayer for him. Now someone is asking him to pray for women who cannot get pregnant. I can just imagine my response in Abraham's position: "You have the wrong person. You better ask someone who has more faith in this area." But Abraham did pray, and Abimelech's women were healed.

And here is the beautiful thing. The very next verses, (Genesis 21:1- 2), tell us that "The Lord blessed Sarah, as he had promised, and she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham when he was old."

The moment Abraham prayed for someone else with a problem similar to his own, God heard and answered Abraham's prayer for his own wife.

How easy it is for us to get locked up with our own problems, so much so that we can be of no help to others. Perhaps we just need to think of others first and let God take care of our own problems.


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