What did Alistair Begg say about people? Oh, that’s right: “The best of men are men at best.” Right after a grand and glorious passage about Abram leaving behind his old life and following God in complete trust and obedience, within the same chapter we see sin entering and disrupting the life of even the “father of all who believe.” First, we might be asking a simple question: “Uh, Abram, what're you doing in Egypt?” The Promised Land is Canaan, not Egypt. Sure, there was a famine in Canaan, but that’s no obstacle to God’s providence.
Now, to be fair, there's no word in Scripture about the Lord forbidding him to go to Egypt, and we need to be careful about condemning a pillar of the faith without a sure word from the Lord. This is an important principle of hermeneutics (the science of biblical interpretation) regarding stories: Narratives only tell us what happened, not necessarily what should've happened. Many times we can tell what should've happened because God expressly commanded someone to do something. If they didn’t do it, then they obviously were disobedient. However, without a clear window into what he thought about what occurred, we should be cautious.
Nevertheless, whether or not Abram was being specifically disobedient to God by going to Egypt, it seems clear that he showed lack of faith (and simple courage) by lying about his relationship with Sarah. The Egyptians in particular considered honesty extremely important, so this was doubly embarrassing to him. They also considered adultery to be very contemptible, so they would've been horrified to discover what almost happened. The main job of a husband is to protect his wife, and like Adam, Abram miserably fails in this regard. How sad it is when pagans behave more honorably than believers! How damaging is our witness when this happens!
Once again, our finger pointing towards Abram points three back at us. Have we ever lied when under pressure? Usually it doesn’t even take a life-threatening situation; threatening our reputation and good name will commonly do the trick.
Lord Jesus, your word is truth, and you are Truth incarnate. When I lie, I confuse people as to who my Father really is. My Enemy has been a liar from the beginning, and he's the Father of lies. Don’t let me listen to his voice in my ears.
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