December 2nd, 2021 – Very Late Thursday Night
“Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children. For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.” ~Genesis 20:17-18
These two verses contain some marvelous and awesome information about the character and nature of God! Don’t get lost in trying to figure out the details or the merits of the human aspects in this passage; that is a dangerous and impossible undertaking. Instead, look at what God does!
If you recall the last devotional Scripture, one of the things we saw in that passage was how the LORD instructed Abimelech to return Sarah to Abraham and then He informed him that Abraham would pray for Abimelech and Abimelech would live. Here we see that playing out: Abimelech has returned Sarah to her “brother” (and husband) and Abraham is responding to this with prayer. The LORD responds to Abimelech’s obedience and Abraham’s prayer by healing Abimelech and the women of his household [of barrenness]. The LORD opened their wombs and they bore children!
What makes this whole situation even more amazing is the fact that the LORD is the One who had closed the wombs in the first place. Now, before we go further, let me remind you of how important children were in those days (and how important they continue to be) for the success, health, and longevity of a family, culture, people group, and nation. If a king could not bear children (and Abimelech was a king), his name could not last and his legacy would be nothing. The throne would transition to some other name/family unless the king adopted a son or something along those lines. When the LORD closed the wombs of Abimelech’s household, He was in essence executing a death sentence upon him (that fits into verses 3 & 7b, huh? :-)). Thankfully for Abimelech and his house, the LORD mercifully intervened and disaster was averted at the end.
What do we take away from this passage? First, the LORD has the authority, power, and wisdom to open and close the womb. One of the simplest, most amazing, and most necessary components of the human existence is ultimately governed by the God who created it. Does this mean that every closed womb is a punishment from Him? Absolutely not! Does this mean that He always opens the wombs of those who trust in Him? Of course not! Yet, He is God; He is sovereign over every aspect of life, including the origin of each individual person and his/her incubating space. We can and should rest in His sovereignty over the womb and rejoice in holy reverence that He is ABLE to open and close it. Second, remember the mercy and compassion of the LORD that is found in this passage. He does not desire destruction (judgment), but mercy; and, He gives mercy and grace to those who are humble – to those who live (and respond) in lowliness of heart before Him.
Praise the LORD that He is God alone! Praise Him for His mercy! Praise Him for His grace! You, LORD, are perfect in all of Your ways!