“God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, ‘Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife’ ” (Genesis 20:3).
Since 1976, more than 1,400 prisoners in the United States have been executed. Capital punishment is legal in thirty-two states. As of January 2014, there were 3,070 inmates in thirty-five states on death row. Three states have more recently abolished the death penalty, but it is not retroactive. Prisoners who are on death row in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Mexico will still be executed.
Capital punishment is a controversial subject. Those who oppose the death penalty regard it as inhuman and criticize it for its irreversibility. Some give examples of innocent persons being wrongfully executed. New DNA evidence has prevented at least fifteen inmates in America from capital punishment.
Abimelech, the king of Gerar in the time of Abraham, appeared to be standing on the edge of the death penalty. When Abraham told the half-lie that Sarah was his sister in an effort to save his own skin, the idolatrous ruler took her into his harem. But in a dream, God warned Abimelech that Sarah was another man’s wife. The king pleaded that he was innocent and didn’t know the truth.
Then God told him, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart” (Genesis 20:6). But the Lord added, “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours” (verse 7). Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham along with gifts and all was made right.
Despite the mess created by Abraham, God still protected Sarah and made clear to Abimelech the serious nature of violating her marriage. It demonstrates the high regard the Lord had for the forebear of the coming Messiah. Though God’s church still struggles to represent Him, the Lord has an eye on His bride. Those who violate His people will suffer consequences.
Lord Jesus, You are the bridegroom and we, as the church, are Your bride, the apple of Your eye.
For Further Study: Genesis 20; Jeremiah 6:2; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7, 8