10 March 2019
ABRAM’S DECEPTION – GOD’S GRACE
Abram responded to God’s call to uproot his family and go to a new land. He was commended for his faith. But, even the faithful are tested. And soon enough, Abram had his first test. The true character of a person is revealed when he faces trouble and adversity.
There was a famine in the land where Abram settled. Would Abram turn back towards Ur of the Chaldees and return to his old way of life? It would be tempting enough. You could even justify doing so for the time being – till things get better. “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return” (Heb 11:16). Abram did not turn back for he had set his heart on following God.
The Christian is exhorted to stand firm by faith for “we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm” (2 Cor 1:24). 1 Cor 10:13 teaches us that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. The Apostle Paul gave all of us clear instructions on using the Armour of God (Eph 6:10-18) and prayer is God’s pathway to partnership in building his Kingdom.
Abram did not seek God’s guidance through prayer. He failed to see that God will provide. Instead, he relied on his own understanding and judgment. He went down to Egypt to seek refuge from the famine. He used deception with Pharaoh of Egypt and his officials reasoning that because Sarai, his wife was beautiful, they would kill him to get her. So, he instructed Sarai to say that she was his sister. He rationalized that this was partly true – she was the daughter of his father but not his mother – (Gen 20:12). Abram, by this deception, exposed Sarai to great danger in Pharaoh’s household. It was an inexcusable conduct and one that dishonored God.
However, God is merciful and gracious towards Abram. Paul reminds us that God remains faithful even when we fail to trust him for “if we are faithless, he remains faithful” (2 Tim 2:13). Sarai was to be the mother of God’s promised seed, Isaac, from whose line would come forth Jesus – the Messiah and Saviour of the world. God protected Sarai and Abram even though Abram used deception against Pharaoh and failed to trust God.
There were consequences resulting from Abram’s deception. The riches acquired through this deception would lead to Lot’s separation from Abram. Abram and Sarai would also take a slave girl from Egypt, Hagar, and she would be a source of great pain and trouble to them and all their descendants. Not seeking God and nor trusting his promises will always lead people into trouble. Let us practice never to use deception but always to trust and obey our God.