History has a way of repeating itself. That is sometimes true in our lives because of circumstances outside our control. The environment and culture in which we live may mean that we find ourselves confronted with similar situations as we go through life, but I t may also be true that history repeats itself because of our outlook on the world. The lens through which we view the circumstances and events in our lives may not determine our circumstances, but it can determine how we process and react to them.
Both of those factors seem to be at play in Abraham’s life in the very similar events of Genesis 12 and Genesis 20. There does seem to be something similar going on culturally in these two events, and on one hand, Abraham’s fear that Pharaoh and then Abimelech would take Sarah is validated by the fact that both of them do exactly that. What we don’t know is how they would have reacted had he just told them the truth. So, while he finds himself in similar situations, the way Abraham viewed the world also plays a significant part in what happens. Abraham was trusting God’s promises, but his faith was mingled with fear. His view of the Lord was clouded by what appeared to him to be threats to God’s promises.
And one of those perceived threats is the powerful men he feared would take his life. Abraham’s actions seem to indicate that he has the same view of Pharaoh and Abimelech. He approaches them both the same way. However, Pharaoh responds to great plagues that come upon his house, while Abimelech responds to a conversation with the Lord. The two men are not the same, even though Abraham viewed them that way. He explains his actions to Abimelech in Genesis 20:11, “I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'”
History repeated itself in Abraham’s life because of misplaced focus and faulty prejudice. Abraham feared that the promises of God were in jeopardy, but that was not the case. God always keeps His promises. Abraham judged that there was no fear of God in Abimelech’s house, but that was not the case. People are not always who we think they will be.
How does history seem to keep repeating itself in your life? How do you need to remind yourself of the Lord’s faithfulness? Who are you tempted to judge based on who you think they will be instead of getting to know them for who they are? If history repeats itself in our lives, let it be because we are trusting the Lord and treating others as we would want to be treated.