14 Then Abimelech took some of his sheep and goats, cattle, and male and female servants, and he presented them to Abraham. He also returned his wife, Sarah, to him. 15 Then Abimelech said, “Look over my land and choose any place where you would like to live.” 16 And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your ‘brother’ 1,000 pieces of silver in the presence of all these witnesses. This is to compensate you for any wrong I may have done to you. This will settle any claim against me, and your reputation is cleared.” 17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech.
Immediately after the destruction of Sodom, God presents us with a vital lesson in the life of faith. We last saw Abraham in a mountaintop experience with God, standing overlooking the smoking ruins of the wicked cities of the plain. He has grown deep in his spiritual maturity and close friendship with God. Many followers of God have the mistaken notion that the journey of faith involves becoming gradually more and more righteous until at last we become worthy of friendship with God. But this is not what the journey of faith is like. No human being ever reaches a point in this life where he is beyond the reach of temptation, sin and spiritual error. Although Abraham is a friend of God, he is vulnerable. He suffers a relapse in judgement and truth. The Philistines were a highly religious people. The king of the Philistines was named Abimelech, which means “my father is king.” This suggests an authority no higher than man. We see a symbolic picture of the church—the secularized institutional body that sees ultimate authority as residing not with God but with church councils, and assemblies. The Philistines were the secularized religionists who displayed an outward from of righteousness and religion but on the inside were far from God. They were the original hypocrites. I have patches of hypocrisy in my own life, that need to be revealed. God show your light of grace on my patches of hypocrisy. God reveal your truth in my heart this morning. I put my patches of hypocrisy on the cross and seek your forgiveness.