Hey! Great to see you again! I hope your week has been awesome so far! Mine has been pretty good. I cannot complain. Besides, if I did, what would it change, right?
So, last time we met, we talked about love. Actually, we talked about loving anyway. Today, I want to talk a little about the lies love tells. What? True love lies? Actually, no, true love does not. Someone forgot to mention that to Abraham…
When Abraham and Sarah moved to Egypt(they were actually still called Abram and Sarai at this point), because of famine in their own land, Abram convinced Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she was his sister, instead of his wife. Apparently, even at her age (she was at least 65), she was still quite beautiful. Abram’s half truth (she was actually his half-sister), was a huge deception. Pharaoh took Sarai as his wife, not knowing he was taking the wife of another man. Pharaoh found out (thanks to some nasty diseases inflicted upon his household) that Abram had lied to him about Sarai…
That’s not even where I wanted to take you, but the back story is important, really important. Apparently Abram didn’t learn his lesson, because he did it again. He lied to save his own neck. And who do you suppose was the pawn in his game again? That’s right, Sarah (she really is called Sarah now).
We pick up our little tale of deception, all in the name of love, in Genesis, chapter 20. Abraham and Sarah have moved from Egypt (thanks in part to Abe’s shenanigans) into a desert region and, as Scripture says, “for a while he stayed in Gerar.” While there, once again, he said of Sarah, “she is my sister.”
Seriously, this is what Abraham said in verse 12: “ And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’ Did you catch that? “If you love me, you will…” I thought my parents coined that phrase in the 80’s to keep me from kissing boys, apparently not. Moving right along…
Abraham’s first justification for his lie was that the thought the people of Gerar did not fear God. Second, and probably more to the point, he thought that because of Sarah’s beauty, the people of Gerar would kill him to have her. So, not only does Abraham lie about Sarah, he used God as a crutch to excuse his sin.
Because of Abraham’s little lie, you know the one: “If you love me, you will…” the king thought it was okay to take Sarah as his wife. Way to go, Abe, you saved your neck and lost your girl…again. I’m pretty sure, at this point, Sarah was not batting her eyelashes at Abraham and proclaiming “Oh, my hero!”
But, thank God for his infinite wisdom, and his ability to love in its truest form. It was this love, this true love, that caused God to protect Abimelek from committing adultery with Sarah. (God revealed the truth to Abimelek in a dream.) Had Abimelek committed adultery with Sarah it would have brought destruction to his nation.
God’s love also extended to Abraham. Because God had entered into a covenant with Abraham (promising he would be the father of many nations), he knew that had he not intervened, Abraham’s actions had the potential to destroy that covenant. Not only did his actions have the potential to destroy the covenant, they had the potential to destroy Abraham. Abimelek could have retaliated and killed Abraham. But, because Abimelek feared God, and heeded the warnings from God in his dream, he returned Sarah to Abraham. Not only did Abimelek return Sarah to Abraham, he blessed him with silver, livestock, slaves, and land. What a crazy turn of events!
Because God was intent on keeping his covenant with Abraham, he used Abraham to bless Abimelek and his household, even though all of this mess was caused because of Abraham’s one “little” lie.
Lies can have dire consequences, whether they are “little white lies” or big, fat, ugly ones. Even if a lie is cloaked in love, like Abraham’s, it still has the potential to do great harm. The harm a lie can cause isn’t self-contained either. A lie can, and will, impact many lives.
Who really exhibited true love throughout this story, besides God?
When Abraham was being pig-headed, TWICE, Sarah never argued. As far as we know, she said, or at least thought, “because I love you, I will.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”