As I stated last week, Jess and I are reading through the entirety of the Bible together this year. The experience of sitting down every evening and digging into God’s word with my wife is truly something wonderful. If you’re married, then I highly suggest that it be something that you and your spouse do together daily. I believe that God honors a couple’s commitment to growing closer to him together. Not only will he grow the couple closer to him, but he will grow the couple closer to each other as well.
Thus far, we have made it through creation, the beginnings of civilizations in the world, Noah, and Job. Now, we are reading the story of Abraham. He is the forefather of the Jewish people and faith. This would eventually go on to morph into Christianity, so he is also pivotal to our faith.
One of the things that you will notice as you read through the Bible is that pretty much all the people in it are not perfect. They make mistakes, sin, and often put themselves above all else. The great patriarch Abraham is no different. Genesis 12:10-20 tells us about Abraham, known as Abram at that point, and his wife, Sarai, going to Egypt because there was a famine in his own land.
As they were about to enter Egypt, Abram told Sarai a scheme that he had concocted to protect himself. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you” (Gen 12:11-13). Being the faithful and trusting wife that she was, Sarai agreed to the plan.
Abram was right about the Egyptians thinking that Sarai was beautiful. In fact, they thought that she was so beautiful that when the Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they decided that she should become one of Pharaoh’s wives. Although it is not stated in scripture, the officials apparently did ask Abram about Sarai. They followed their plan and told the men that she was his sister, and off to the Pharaoh they took her. In exchange for taking Sarai as his wife, the Pharaoh gave Abram a bunch of sheep, cattle, other livestock, and servants.
Now, Abram and Sarai are in a pickle. What are they to do? Clearly, Abram cannot admit that he lied to the Pharaoh; that would surely cost him his life. If he does nothing, however, Sarai will become the wife of the Pharaoh. Abram is truly powerless in this situation. Thankfully for him, God steps in on his behalf.
God saves the day and saves Abram and Sarai. Here’s the thing: according to what the Pharoah said, he would not have taken Sarai to be his wife if he knew that she was married to Abram. We don’t know if that was true or not, but we have no reason to not believe him. Abram’s lie caused issues for everyone involved in the story, and it appears as though it was completely unnecessary. If not for God intervening, the path of human history would have gone a very different direction because of Abram’s scheme. Abram and Sarai go on to be the great great great great great (I’m not sure how many greats, but it’s a lot of them) grandparents of Jesus. All of that was put at risk because Abram was worried about securing his own safety– even at the expense of his wife’s wellbeing.
Thankfully, God protects Abram and Sarai. He protected them not only from the Egyptians but from themselves. It was their own plan that got them into danger. While God never condoned the lie, he prevented it from becoming their undoing. God’s chief concern was to take care of his people; that remains the same today.
For the most part, we are our own worst enemies. We cannot keep ourselves from choosing things that we know we ought not to choose. We regularly fall willingly into sin’s traps. Our thoughts and hearts often betray who it is that we are striving to be and who it is that we are striving to follow. That is the crux of human nature. Paul wrote about this in Romans 7; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (verse 15). We all struggle with continuously choosing the righteous thing to do. Thanks be to God that he does not leave us on our own.
In his commentary on Romans 8:28, which reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose,” 17th-century theologian Matthew Pool wrote, “All things, even sin itself.” While God never approves sin, he can and will use it for our good. Abram and Sarai actually came out of their ordeal in a better materialistic situation than when they entered. They came to Egypt during a severe famine with nothing and left with a herd of livestock and plenty of servants. This could have gone drastically different for them if God had not shown up to take care of them.
I am not suggesting that we all go and sin in hopes that God will reward us. That will not go well for you, I promise. Sin will always lead to death and earthly consequences. What I am saying is that our sinning will not preclude God from still taking care of us, if we are his people. At that point in time, Abram and Sarai were pretty much the entirety of God’s people. Now, it is open to all who believe in Christ. It is because of the grace that Jesus bought us on the cross that we can know that God is not going to abandon us, even when it is our own sin that has gotten us into trouble.
If you liked this, then I think that you’ll enjoy my book. You can buy it by going here. Also, I have started a His Kingdom/ Our Good podcast. It’s available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, and Anchor.