Abraham and Sarah loved God, placed their faith in God… yet they still made mistakes. We will make mistakes in our faith walk, there is no way around it. Fear is the root of many mistakes. Fear can cause a lie or a half truth to slip right out of our lips.
Let’s look at Abraham’s half-truth that could have caused the loss of many lives.
Scripture tells us several times that Sarah was a beautiful woman, a stunner. Men noticed her, men wanted her. I often wonder if beauty is more a curse than a blessing. A stunning beauty has difficulty flying under the radar. In Bible times, that could make life dangerous for a women.
As they wandered further and further from their homeland Abraham became fearful… fearful he would be killed by men who would see Sarah’s beauty and want her for themselves.
True, men would want Sarah, but Abraham had no need to fear. God was with them, but sometimes we forget that.
So was born his little half-truth. Technically, Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister, a common thing in those days. In truth, she was his wife. Did Abraham not think that the God was strong enough, great enough or mighty enough to protect him and Sarah from any foe that may come along?
Let’s take a look into this life lesson in Genesis 20
Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar,
Here comes the little half-truth…
And there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.”
Here is how it backfires
Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
Since Abraham claimed Sarah was his sister, not his wife, Abimelek thought that this beautiful woman was free for the taking.
Then this… our But God Moment
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”
God intervened in a big way – with a heavy threat. “You are as good as dead…” Abimelek would have been a fool to touch Sarah and he knew it.
Right here Abimelek must have breathed a great sigh of relief…
Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
If Abraham would have only told the truth – this entire situation would have been avoided.
Don’t we find that in our own lives? Half-truths can lead to big messes. Where the truth would have simply taken care of the matter.
The old saying “Honesty is the best policy”, rings so true.
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
Abimelek obeys God… and we see that Abimelek has a few words for Abraham.
“What have you done to us?
You have created a near disaster for me and my people!”
Then he asks Abraham the big question, Why?
Abraham admits his fear by saying … “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Sarah really is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not my mother. I forgot to mention yes, she is also my wife. As we wondered far from home, I asked her to say she was my sister, rather than my wife.”
Now there is a complicated excuse. And good old Abe – had been all wrong.
Abraham assumed that Abimelek and his people were not God fearing, it turns out they were.
We assume people will react in a certain way, so we hold back all of the truth. We tell little half-truths to make things go smoother, to ruffle a few less feathers and most often it ends up in a mess.
But God… can and will bring correction. He will root out the truth. God can take a sticky, messy, impossible situation and make it possible.
God does things like this… Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”
To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”
God restores faith and courage like this…
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.
But God can and will intervene, he will root out the truth. Oh.. can that make us uncomfortable, edgy and nervous. Then this can happen…once the truth has been dug up, it can be replanted and healthy relationships can grow.