Though the uses of the words dream, dreamed, and dreams are used more frequent than prayed, Antichrist, devil, or Satan we have much less teaching and understanding of the Biblical teachings on dreaming. Perhaps it’s like tongues. It’s just a little too ‘spiritual.’ Job says that in dreams of deep sleep is when the Lord “openeth the ears of men.” We need a dream.
ABRAHAM, THE FRIEND OF GOD
by Delbert Young
We Need A Dream
We Need A Dream
Scriptures: Genesis 20:1-2, Genesis 20:3, Acts 2:17, Job 33:15-16, Genesis 20:4-6, Genesis 20:5, Genesis 20:7, Genesis 20:8-10, Genesis 20:11-13, Genesis 20:14-15, Leviticus 6:4, Leviticus 6:5, Exodus 22:1, 2 Samuel 9:7, Proverbs 6:31, Genesis 20:16-18
Genesis 20:1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
1. Abraham journeyed
Why Abraham left the land of Mamre is not told. He had dwelled there twenty years. Some believe it may have been the destruction of Sodom and that destruction freighted Abraham some say. At any rate Abraham moves on, he and his household.
The truth we see is that when the Lord manifests to the dimension that He did with Abraham, one will move on. We cannot help but move. We can remain in the same place in our walk for years, but when He appears to us we will move.
Genesis 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
2. Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister
a. the flaw
The scriptures make it obvious that Abraham lied. “Abraham said of Sarah his wife, she is my sister.” The lie is made obvious. How wonderful the word of God. A precious wonder of the word is that it reveals the flaws of even its most celebrated characters. Matthew Henry says,
“The fairest marbles have their flaws, and while there are spots in the sun, we must not expect any thing spotless under it. The scripture, it should be remarked, is impartial in relating the blemishes even of its most celebrated characters.” 1
Abraham had been guilty of this very lie before (Gen 12:13). Every person, even a man of faith, even a friend of God has faults. We seldom fall into new faults. Abraham failed in this same area twenty five years earlier. We usually lapse back into the same old faults that once plagued us. Our historic struggles and weaknesses will tell the struggles and weaknesses we will face in the future. Abraham had personal visitations from the Almighty God. He had an “Abraham specific” covenant. Abraham fed the Lord! Abraham stood with the Lord. Yet Abraham was deceitful.
We learn that we need never think we are too mighty, nor too strong, too spiritual, nor have walked with the Lord so long, that we will not lapse into an old past fault. We need never think that those we are around and those who we are friends will not lapse in an old past fault.
b. the risk
None are flawless for all have sinned (Rom 3:23) save Christ. However we are “blameless” before God if in Christ (2Pe 3:14). It was bad enough that Abraham fell to his flaw in Genesis 12 with Pharaoh. It was bad enough that he fell again in Genesis 20 with Abimelech. The mystery is why he allowed his wife to be placed into this risk knowing that she would soon be with child.
Our flaws place the ones we cherish at risk. A man is an alcoholic, but insists on driving the family while intoxicated. There resides the risk of destroying the entire family in one moment. Our flaws place the ones we love at great risk.
1. self doubt
Did Abraham really believe when Lord told him he would have a son by Sarah? No, remember, he laughed. Did Sarah really believe when the Lord told Abraham in her hearing that she would have a son? No, remember she laughed also (Gen 17:17; 18:11-12).
As we noted neither laughed at God and the promise. They were laughing at their personal inabilities. None the less they laughed. Abraham and Sarah had faith in God. They did not doubt that the Lord God Almighty wanted them to have a son. They both doubted their ability to conceive. Doubting ourselves is dangerous. That doubt placed Abraham at Abimelech’s. Self doubt will place not only one’s self but those one should be covering (wife, children, church, etc) in Abimelech’s kingdom. There they can be taken into Abimelech’s house.
“Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah” into his house to take her to his bed. We see the plan of Satan. If Sarah had become pregnant by Abimelech the promised Isaac from Abraham’s loins would not come forth. The devil attempted to stop the promise. He will do the same to you or I. Self doubt jeopardizes our promise. It will take us too close to Abimelech.
Abraham and Sarah were very close to the promise being realized. They had waited all their lives for a son. They were less than a year away and Abraham the man of faith, the friend of God, placed himself, his family, and his people in a position to foul everything. Doubting self will place us at Abimelech’s house. How close do we get to the very event we have waited on, believed for, and prayed about only to place everything at Abimilech’s house?
Genesis 20:3 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.
3. God came… in a dream
The taking of a man’s wife or the taking of a woman’s husband is a serious thing to the Lord. Unless something is done somebody will die. I have seen situations where a man or a woman would destroy another’s home by taking a spouse away. Often, perhaps years later, somebody dies a terrible death. Is that coincidence? “Be not deceived. God is not mocked….”
The Lord works through visions and dreams even in our day (Act 2:17). In fact, we should have them frequently.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (emphasis added)
The dream is an important scriptural doctrine. The words dream, dreamed, and dreams are found 115 times in our scriptures in 83 different verses. To show us the importance of this the dream in the scriptures let’s compare a few words that are major doctrines. The word “prayed” is found 66 times in the scriptures in 65 different verses. The word “antichrist” is found 5 times in 4 different verses. The word “devil” is found 61 times in 57 verses. The word “Satan” is found 53 times in 49 different verses. Though the uses of dream, dreamed, and dreams are more frequent than prayed, antichrist, devil, or Satan we have much less teaching and understanding of the Biblical teachings on dreaming. Perhaps it’s like tongues. It’s just a little too “spiritual.”
The Lord God Almighty used dreams yesterday and uses them today. Job says that in dreams of deep sleep is when the Lord “openeth the ears of men.” We need a dream.
Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Job 33:16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
A. Some dreams and visions in scripture
Abimelech (Gen 20)
Jacob (Gen 28) Bethel–ladder to heaven–house of God
Jacob (Gen 31) ringstraked, speckled, and grisled–peeled rods
Laban (Gen 31) Laban–not to even speak bad to Jacob
Joseph (Gen 37) Joseph–two dreams–sheaves bowed, and moon, sun, eleven stars bowed
Genesis 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
butler (Gen 40) restored and lifted up
baker (Gen 40) hanged and head lifted off
Pharaoh (Gen 41) several times–seven fat cows eaten by seven skinny cows, seven fat ears of corn devoured by seven skinny ears of corn
prophets are supposed to dream (Num 12; Deu 13)
Numbers 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
the Midian (Jud 7) cake of barley bread
Solomon (1Ki 3) Ask what I shall give thee.
Job (Job 7) thou scarest me with dreams
Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2) image of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay
Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4) great tree in midst of earth cut down to stump and roots, he ate grass
Daniel (Dan 7) four great beasts – lion, bear, leopard, great and terrible beast
Joseph husband of Mary (Mat 1) marry Mary
Wise men (Mat 2) warned of Herod
Joseph husband of Mary (Mat 2:13) take family to Egypt
Joseph husband of Mary (Mat 2:19) Herod is dead, go back to Israel
Joseph husband of Mary (Mat 2:22) take family to Galilee
Pilate’s wife (Mat 27:19) don’t touch that just man
New Testament believers who the spirit has been poured (Act 2:17)
Dreams should not be passed off as nothingness or nonsense. The Lord spoke to the righteous and the unrighteous through dreams. God can and will come in a dream. We need a dream. Abimelech appreciated the dream even though it was threatening. He was able to correct the situation and avoid the consequences. We need a dream.
Genesis 20:4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
Genesis 20:5 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.
Genesis 20:6 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.
4. I didn’t know…. I didn’t touch
The Lord came to Abimelech in a dream and said, “Abimelech, you are a dead man!” Abimelech, though obviously ignorant of Abraham’s and Sarah’s folly, would have been judged even in his ignorance. There was no way Abimelech would know that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Still, he was a dead man, ignorant or not. Stranger still is the fact that the guilty people, Abraham and Sarah, would be blessed even though they were the perpetrators.
Genesis 20:5 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.
Abimelech made his case. He said he was not told the truth. Then he says, “….the integrity of my heart and the innocency of my hands have I done this.” To this the Lord replied (I paraphrase), “Yell, so much for the integrity of your heart, for I withheld you. I arranged it that you would not touch her.” It wasn’t because Abimelech was such a good man (as he projected) that he had not touched Sarah. It was because the Lord ordained it that Abimelech would not touch Sarah!
Sadly, sometimes it is not that we would not sin. In reality we did no sin because the Lord fixed it so we could not sin. What would humanity be if the restraining hand of God was not at work? Who knows how often He ordained our lives so that we would not sin against Him? We may grasp how a traffic light suddenly turns red and then an accident happens a block away that we would have been involved in had the red light not stopped us. We need also to understand how sometimes things do not work out as we thought or wanted. Somehow the “red light” stopped us from sin that we would have been involved in had we had our way. Our God Almighty is merciful, even to the heathen Abimilech’s life.
Genesis 20:7 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.
5. He shall pray for thee
Compounded into this situation the Lord told Abimelech to have Abraham pray for him. Do what? Abimelech had to think, “It’s Abraham’s fault all this is happening and now this liar is supposed to pray for me?” Naturally Abimelech did what the Lord said. Abimelech would restore Sarah and would allow Abraham to pray for him. If he did not he “shalt surely die, and all that are thine.”
Some things in the scriptures are baffling. To me this is one of them. Though this event was the fault of Abraham and Sarah it would be Abimelech that would be judged. Why was this? We know that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Then why such harsh judgment on Abimelech? We see two points. First Abimelech had been mercifully warned in the dream. Abimelech could heed or reject, but he would not touch Sarah. He could live to tell or die tomorrow, but he would not keep Sarah.
Secondly, Abimelech was to “restore” Sarah to Abraham “for”–because–Abraham was a prophet. One simply does not touch God’s anointed and get away with it (1Ch 16:22).
I struggle here a bit. I know the story. I know that Abraham and Sarah will be blessed even though they created this folly. I also know that being anointed of God does not give one the right to be dishonest. Knowing that I also know that the Lord God Almighty never addressed Abraham about the incident. God did not address Abraham about Genesis 12 and Pharaoh. Being the chosen of the Lord does not elevate one above the laws and ways of God. Yet, here there is no explanation around it. Because Abraham was the Lord’s prophet he would be restored and he would be blessed in his mess.
What we see and learn is of the Lord’s mercy. Mercy is given both to Abimelech and to Abraham. Mercifully the Lord warns Abimelech. Mercifully the Lord restores and does not rebuke Abraham. I suppose this should not seem strange. For how many times have I been blessed of God when I should have been rebuked?
Genesis 20:8 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.
Genesis 20:9 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.
Genesis 20:10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
7. What hast thou done unto us?
There are qualities about Abimelech that are to be admired. He quickly hearkened to the instructions of the Lord. Early the next morning Abimelech begins adjusting. He first told his men. His men close around him must be told was happening. They are his protection and covering. Next Abimelech called Abraham.
Abimelech was extremely firm with Abraham, but not insulting. Abimelech did not say, “So you are a believer are you?” He did not say, “If this is what a prophet of your Lord God’s is then I want none of it.” What Abimelech did say was, “You have done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.” What we do can place others in danger. Abimelech said, “What have you done to us?” Abimelech did not see this done only to him. He knew this had affected the entire kingdom. “….thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin.” Matthew Henry says,
“He looks upon it that both himself and his kingdom would have been exposed to the wrath of God if he had been guilty of this sin, though ignorantly. Note, The sins of kings often prove the plagues of kingdoms.”2
One must question and wonder of the state of the nation in relation to this truth. Does the immorality of the nation’s leader(s) open the entire nation to the judgment of God? We should ask as did Abimelech, “What are they doing to us?”
Genesis 20:11 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.
Genesis 20:12 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.
Genesis 20:13 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.
8. “I thought”
As with all of us, Abraham made his excuses. First Abraham said, “I thought….” That is usually how we begin our excuse. We say, “I thought….” Abraham said he thought there was no fear of God in that place. Interesting there seemed to be more fear of God in Abimelech than in Abraham. I find this often true. Many times the heathen have more fear of God than do many believers.
Abraham justified his lie and said he feared they would kill him to get Sarah. Next Abraham said that Sarah was his sister, sort-of. Somehow Abraham had it figured out that Sarah was his sister. This is not proven in the scriptures other than Sarah was Abraham’s father’s (Terah) daughter through marriage to Abraham (Gen 11:31). At any rate no matter how he sliced it the story had the intent to deceive Abimelech.
Lastly Abraham justifies his dishonesty by including God in the excuse. “When God caused me to wander…. I said unto her, ‘at every place we shall come say of me, He is my brother’.” Abraham is saying, “See Abimelech, it’s really God’s fault. I was doing what the Lord told me to do. Because He caused me to come here I said she was my sister.” How many times do we attempt to justify our messes by including God in them?
Genesis 20:14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.
Genesis 20:15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.
9. Return Plus Restore
Amazing, is it not, that Abraham is tremendously blessed in this mess? He created the dilemma and yet is blessed in his mess. Being the friend of God has rewards. The Hebrew word translated “restored” (20:14) is shuwb (Strong’s #7725) meaning “to turn back.” However it never contextually teaches simply to restore exactly what was taken. It is always with the thought of restoring plus more. It is the law of God (see Lev 6:4, 5; Exo 22:1; 2Sa 9:7; Joe 2:24-26; Luk 19:8, 9; Pro 6:30-31).
Leviticus 6:4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,
Leviticus 6:5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.
Exodus 22:1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
2 Samuel 9:7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
Proverbs 6:31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
Abimelech restored Sarah plus sheep, plus oxen, plus men servants, plus women servants, plus land, and plus silver. In Psalms 23:3 the word says, “He restoreth my soul….” When the Lord restores a soul the soul is far better that before the restoration. When the thief steals and is caught he must restore sevenfold (Pro 6:31).
What has the devil taken for us? He must return that taken and restore back seven times again. Settle for nothing less! Even if you created the mess the devil must return plus restore. Even if you were deceitful and may not have been totally upright the devil must return plus restore.
Genesis 20:16 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.
10. thus she was reproved
Abimelech said to Sarah, “I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver….” There is the sound of mockery. I hear, “….your brother, sure he is your brother…. That’s not what God said.” King James interprets the remainder of the chapter somewhat differently from other translations. King James says, “….he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.” The word “reproved” in the Hebrew is yakach (Strong’s #3198) meaning “to be right (i.e. correct); justify or convict”.
to be right (i.e. correct); justify or convict
There obviously is a correction given to Sarah from the heathen Abimelech. Matthew Henry says,
“He gives Sarah good instruction, tells her that her husband (her brother he calls him, to upbraid her with calling him so) must be to her for a covering of the eyes, that is, she must look at no other, nor desire to be looked at by any other.”3
Abimelech told Sarah that she must help Abraham. She could not allow anyone to look at her. Neither could she look at another. Abraham must be to her a covering for her eyes. She could see Abraham only.
Genesis 20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
Genesis 20:18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.
11. Have we restored?
After Abimelech had restored to Abraham what was correct, Abraham prayed. Once the prayer was prayed “God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.” No wonder Abimelech moved quickly. This is the first we were told that Abimelech and his wife needed healing. It is the first we are told that God had “fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech“. The reason was “Sarah Abraham’s wife,” not Abraham’s sister.
Do we need healing of some sort? Do we need a womb opened that will allow us productivity? Then have we restored Biblically? Have we made a situation we were honest in restored? We say, “Well, I was honest. Why should I restore anything?” Because your womb is “fast shut.” The productivity that you want has not come. Abimelech was honest, but when Abimelech restored the healing came. I believe there are people who the Lord has came to in a dream or a vision and revealed to them why they could not receive a healing. Or perhaps why they could not produce (naturally or spiritually). Instead of moving “early in the morning” upon the dream or vision as did Abimelech, they keep their sickness. One may say, “Yell but, it was their fault.” It was Abraham’s and Sarah’s fault. One may say, “Well, I didn’t know the whole truth.” Abimelech did not know the truth. Do we want the healing or only to make excuses? Has the Lord “fast closed up all the womb”? Then let’s have a dream. We need a dream!
12. What do we learn from this lesson that we can apply to our lives today
A. When the Lord appears in our lives, spends time with us, and discusses extremely serious issues, we will move on still in the spiritual. It is impossible to remain at the same place in the spirit when the Lord has appeared to us.
B. Abraham was dishonest. He had fallen into that same fault twenty-five years earlier. Seldom do we fall into new faults. We lapse back into old faults. The struggles we have faced in the past will be the struggles we face in the future. Beware of old faults. Our flaws place the ones we love at great risk. Abraham placed Sarah at great risk with Abimelech.
C. Self doubt is a tremendous enemy. Abraham doubted his self and placed Sarah and the promise in jeopardy. The enemy will take advantage of our self doubt to stop promises over our lives. Abraham would never have allowed Sarah to be placed in that position had he believed she could actually conceive. He doubted his and her capability and jeopardized the promise. When we doubt our self and others we place our lives at Abimelech’s.
D. Dreams and visions are extremely common in the scriptures. We usually pass them off as nothingness and nonsense. We often snicker and laugh at them. That could be very dangerous. It could be instruction. It could be a warning. It could be a revelation given you to give others. Had Abimelech passed it off as nothing Abimelech would have died. We need a dream.
E. Sometimes we do not sin because God arranges it so we cannot sin. It is not that we are so good. It is that God is good and will restrain us from sinning against Him.
F. Though the entire episode at Abimelech’s was Abraham’s making, it was Abimelech that would be judged and Abraham would be blessed. We see God’s mercy to both. We also see that the Lord God will bless His chosen even when it seems He should rebuke them.
G. Had Abimelech sinned, God’s judgment would come on the nation. Our national leader’s and leaders’ immorality works a judgment upon you and I and our children. We should ask as did Abimelech, “What are they doing to us?”
H. Abimelech was commanded to “restore” Sarah to Abraham. We find that Sarah was given back, but then so much more was given to Abraham. Restore is getting back what was taken plus much more. What has been taken from you? If you catch the thief he must restore seven times what he took. Catch the devil and make him restore.
I. How is our productivity? Does it sometime seem, “the Lord has fast closed the womb” of production in our lives. We usually blame the devil, but it could be the Lord. The answer is to “restore.” Restore what? Restore to whom? That is where we need a dream. If the Lord has not revealed it to us then we need a dream.
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