When God Changes Your Name [Series]-Abraham, Part 3(b)
“Abram to Abraham”
He establishes a destiny for you and a legacy through you…by positioning you as a powerful intercessor on behalf of others—even when they are unaware of it.
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. (Gen 20:17-18 ESV)
Fast on the heels of God’s promise regarding Isaac, Abraham encounters another trial that threatens the promise. Abimelech, King of Gerar, takes Sarah with the intent of making her his wife or concubine. Abimelech apparently feels justified because both Abraham and Sarah told him she was Abraham’s sister. In a dream, God threatens to kill Abimelech because he has taken Sarah. When Abimelech reminds God that he had no idea she was Abraham’s wife (Gen 20:5), God informs him that He (God) was the one who kept him from touching (violating) her. God then tells him,
Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” (Gen 20:7 ESV)
Abraham’s intercession will spare Abimelech’s life and restore fertility to his household. Again, Abraham is able to stand before God and intercede on behalf of an enemy because of the relationship of faith He has with God. There’s another highlight here which foreshadows a New Testament model. In Matthew 5:44 (Sermon on the Mount), Jesus teaches us to bless our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. On the basis of relationship with Him and as a reflection of His character in us, we can offer petitions on their behalf. Our prayers may help deliver others out of their dilemma.
The credibility we have to intercede on behalf of others is always based on the efficacy of the shed blood of Christ. The validity of our intercession for enemies or those who persecute us isn’t found in our emotional responses or how we feel. The power of our intercession is grounded in our faith in Christ and love for God. We can intercede for those who mean us harm…and our prayers are effectual because of our faith in the blood of Christ.
Because of Abraham’s intercession, God spared Abimelech’s life and opened the wombs of the women in his household. He stood in the gap for Abimelech, and God responded to the prayers of His friend.
Last time I asked if there was someone who needed you to bow your heart in prayer for them. It’s a pretty nonthreatening question. This time, I wonder if there is someone who has dismissed you, mistreated, marginalized, abandoned, or betrayed you for whom you could pray? You are a child of God. He has your back. In fact, Hebrews 1:14 reminds us His angels are sent forth as ministering spirits on our behalf because we are heirs of salvation.
Our natural tendency is to wonder, “What about me…?” God’s got you…. Today, will you bless someone who has cursed you? Will you intercede for your mean boss, your untrustworthy co-worker, a neglectful parent, or, even an insensitive spouse? Perhaps, they are oblivious regarding how significantly their behavior impacts your relationship. God saw past Abimelech’s actions and looked at his motive—his heart. You and I aren’t able to look into the hearts—motives—of others. We can, however, pray for them and follow our Savior’s guidance and leading when they mistreat us.
Stay close to Him. Live beautiful,