Abram has trust issues. Genesis 12:10-13:1 and all of Genesis 20 share stories that are very similar. In both Abram disguises his relationship with Sarai to protect himself. He says she is his sister, and Genesis 20:12 says that she is truly his half-sister. The difference between the two passages is that in Genesis 12 Abram seems to suffer more for this decision while in Genesis 20 the decision seems to be a part of a greater plan God has to remind Abraham of his purpose.
Lying is Bad
Let’s just start here. The consequences of lying are painful for everyone. When Abram lied to Pharaoh, a plague came on Pharaoh’s household, Abram and Sarai were separated, Abram was forced out of Egypt and into the desert wilderness of southern Israel, the Negev. On top of this, Abram ruined any opportunity for a good relationship with Pharaoh. I am not suggesting this had a direct result into the Egyptian slavery. However, Abram became a stumbling block, not a blessing to Pharaoh by concealing his marriage to Sarai. All this stems from Abram’s original lack of trust in God, during the famine we never see Abram turn towards God for help.
Again, in Genesis 20 Abraham (the name change happens in Genesis 17) lies about Sarah to Abimelech. Abimelech’s entire community suffers from infertility because of this. God comes to Abimelech in a dream to prevent Abimelech from committing adultery. Abimelech pleads his innocence, and God requires that he go to Abraham to make things right. In return, Abraham has an opportunity to pray for Abimelech. In a round about way, this is what Abraham is supposed to be doing, become a blessing to others! Yet it takes God’s intervention for Abraham to do his job of blessing.
The presenting problem is never the problem. Often it is only a symptom of a much deeper problem. While Abraham might believe in God’s promise for an heir by Chapter 20, Abraham still has issues trusting God. In Genesis 12 the problem is that he never consults God during the famine, he strikes out on his own to see what will happen. He leaves the land that God promised to his descendants. Abram does not depend on God like a father. In Genesis 20 Abraham admits his fear, “they will kill me because of my wife” (20:11). The underlying issue is that Abraham does not yet trust that God will protect and provide for him. Abraham is a stranger in a strange land. A wandering nomad with no place to call his own. Abraham even at this point does not quite get it that he may have left his father’s household, he has joined God’s household.
The progression of this case: the lies come from fear which come from a lack of trust. Are you afraid of something? If so, name it. Now, what is that fear causing you to miss out on? Just like Abraham, God has blessed every believer to be a blessing for others, we have the incredible opportunity to share what Christ has done for us with someone else and lead them to Christ. Why let fear get in your way of being used by God in powerful ways?
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