Andrew Fountain - God Uses Messed-up People

This is one of the oddest stories in Genesis, but it has a powerful and encouraging message for us.


Sermon Outline - God Uses Messed-up People

That the story of Abraham,
a man who is so flawed,
but still used by God,
would encourage us.


  1. The story in Genesis 20
  2. Fitting it into the BIG story
  3. How the story has been repeated
  4. The story for you and me

1. The Story

  • In Genesis 20 we read a rather strange story about Abraham

bear in mind that Abraham is supposed to be the”Great man of faith”

  • Read the chapter: Genesis 20

Genesis 20

”Genesis 20”

  1. Abraham journeyed from there to the Negev region and settled between Kadesh and Shur.
    While he lived as a temporary resident in Gerar, 2Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.”
    So Abi-melech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.
  2. But God appeared to Abi-melech in a dream at night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else’s wife.”
  3. Now Abi-melech had not gone near her. He said, “Lord, would you really slaughter an innocent nation?
  4. Did Abraham not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this with a clear conscience and with innocent hands!”
  5. Then in the dream God replied to him, “Yes, I know that you have done this with a clear conscience. That is why I have kept you from sinning against me and why I did not allow you to touch her.
  6. But now give back the man’s wife. Indeed he is a prophet and he will pray for you; thus you will live. But if you don’t give her back, know that you will surely die along with all who belong to you.”
  7. Early in the morning Abi-melech summoned all his servants. When he told them about all these things, they were terrified.
  8. Abi-melech summoned Abraham and said to him,
    “What have you done to us?
    What sin did I commit against you that would cause you to bring such great guilt on me and my kingdom?
    You have done things to me that should not be done!”
  9. Then Abi-melech asked Abraham, “What prompted you to do this thing?”
  10. Abraham replied, “Because I thought, ‘Surely no one fears God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’
  11. What’s more, she is indeed my sister, my father’s daughter, but not my mother’s daughter. She became my wife.
  12. When God made me wander from my father’s house, I told her,
    ‘This is what you can do to show your loyalty to me: Every place we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’”
  13. So Abi-melech gave sheep, cattle, and male and female servants to Abraham. He also gave his wife Sarah back to him.
  14. Then Abi-melech said, “Look, my land is before you; live wherever you please.”
  15. To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver to your ‘brother.’ This is compensation for you so that you will stand vindicated before all who are with you.”
  16. Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abi-melech, as well as his wife and female servants so that they were able to have children.
  17. For the LORD had caused infertility to strike every woman in the household of Abi-melech because he took Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

based on NET Bible

  • What on earth are we supposed to learn from it?

2. Fitting it into the BIG story

  • Promise to Eve of a descendent who would destroy evil -and this of course would be Jesus
  • The history of this world is the history of this battle
  • Satan pictured in Revelation 12 as a huge red dragon
  • He is trying to stop the promised Saviour being born

Revelation 12:4–5

  1. …And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.
  2. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron,…

How Abraham fits in

  • Abraham had just had a visit (Gen 18) from two angels
    • Within a year Abraham’s promised son would be born to Sarah
  • If Sarah had got pregnant from Abimelech, it would have broken God’s promise
  • This is an attack of Satan—he puts fear into Abraham
  • But the very next verses are… Genesis 21

Genesis 21

  1. The LORD visited Sarah just as he had said he would and did for Sarah what he had promised.
  2. So Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him.
  3. Abraham named his son—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac.
    • God did what he said he would, and kept his promise!
  • And the moral of the story is...

3. How the story has been repeated

  • God still uses really messed up people
  • Although we may relapse and fail, God is faithful
  • King David -you want to build me a house, but I will build you a house
  • Peter (denied Jesus, but Jesus restored him)
  • Samson -each time he messed up...

The story of Sean

The story of Sean

Willam Cowper

Willam Cowper

Hymns of Cowper

  • There is a fountain filled with blood
      Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
    And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
      Lose all their guilty stains.

Hymns of Cowper

  • God moves in a mysterious way,
      His wonders to perform;
    He plants his footsteps in the sea,
      And rides upon the storm.
  • You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
      The clouds you so much dread
    Are big with mercy and shall break
      In blessings on your head.

4. The story for you and me

  • God still uses really messed up people
  • Two kinds of people: those who know they are messed up, and those who don’t -
  • Although we may relapse and fail, God is faithful (of course, this is not an excuse :)
  • Rev 12:17: “So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus.” -
  • How is Satan trying to stop you entering into God’s purposes right now?

Updated on 2019-03-31 by Andrew Fountain