I’m not going to debate or entertain questions or comments relating to the circumstances that were in existence 5,000+ years ago that would allow Abraham and Sarah to marry. It was a completely different time, and entirely different circumstances than we live in today. What I do find very interesting are the truths involved in the story, because they hit me right between the eyes & convict my soul.
At the beginning of Chapter 20, Abraham told King Abimelech, upon entering a land the king controlled, that his wife Sarah was his sister. Why? Abraham was afraid that the king would kill him and take his wife Sarah for his own if he was completely honest about her being his wife. So he lied…a bit. I mean it wasn’t completely the truth or completely a lie…It was a half-truth. It was still a lie.
Abraham’s lie sent his wife into a very difficult situation and caused the people in Abimelech’s kingdom to become barren, so God appeared to Abimelech to tell him the truth and to also let him know that he was “a dead man” (Gen. 20:3) because he had taken Sarah for his own. Abimelech quickly says, “Look I didn’t touch her,” and God said “I know because I kept you from her to save your life, but now GIVE HER BACK to Abraham and he will pray for you.” In other words, I want you to confront Abraham with this truth, so that I can heal you and your family, help Abraham get back to what I’ve called him to do, and quit taking care of things himself.
The Bible says that Abimelech got up EARLY the next morning, took Sarah back, and confronted Abraham. Abraham not only admitted the truth to Abimelech, but he also confessed that this was something he had done before. In fact, it was his plan all along. Whenever Abraham found himself in that same situation he had convinced Sarah to simply say she was his sister and everything would be OK. This time Abraham’s lie caused the king’s whole household to became barren, and even threatened his life. God wanted Abraham to make things right, fulfill his purpose, quit telling half-truths about his half-sister, and to truly begin walking by faith. God wanted Abraham to trust that He would take care of Him completely. God had a plan, and He didn’t need Abraham to try to fix or manipulate things for that plan to happen. That’s Convicting to me.
I relate to Abraham on several fronts. I didn’t marry my half-sister, but my wife and I have been called to step out in faith together. My wife also needs me to lead authentically.Yet, in the midst of fulfilling this call to walk by faith, I also have been confronted with my tendency to tell half-truths and manipulate situations. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. My half-truths and manipulation, on many occasions, have caused pain and confusion in the lives of those that I love most and people associated with me too. I’m thankful though, that as I have been confronted by the truth too, as Abraham was, I have been given the chance to repent, change, and an opportunity to make things right.
Check out what follows in Genesis Chapter 21, or as Paul Harvey used to say, “The Rest of the Story.” The Bible says in verses 1 and 2, “The Lord visited Sarah as He said, and the Lord did for her as He had promised. For Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had told him.” You see, God gave Abraham and Sarah the son He had promised them immediately AFTER Abraham finally came clean about his Half-Sister, His Half-Truth’s, was completely honest. That's when hings changed.
I wonder how many promises are held back because of our lies and manipulation. How many blessings are delayed because we have not completely trusted that God is able to do what He promised and take care of us on our journey? How many moments aren’t as powerful and special as they could have been because we choose to manipulate the situation ourselves rather than allowing God to be in complete control? How many Facebook Statuses are written, Pages are launched, Tweets are tweeted, and Social Media Moments are plagiarized, embellished, or inflated to get more “likes, a “hearty Amen,” or to satisfy our need for approval. So many moments aren’t about God at all. Sure we use God’s name or His Word, but we have some motive, agenda, or purpose to accomplish ourselves. Until we come to a place of repentance and change ourselves, as Abraham did so many years ago, the next chapter of our lives can’t be fully written either.