Genesis 12:10-20 A White Lie

Abram’s fear supplanted his faith when in Egypt. He convinced Sarai to engage in a “white lie” with him

Abram has been camping in various places throughout Canaan. It is plentiful but it is not drought proof. Egypt offers relief from the drought but trouble of another kind.

The first thing I notice here is that Abram didn’t ask God what to do about his problem. If he would have consulted God I wonder what His solution would have been. Two generations later He would bring the whole lot of them into Egypt because of another famine. Both times our band prospered but both times also brought trouble.

Abram starts this “sojourn” off with a lie. This wasn’t an outright lie as Abram later explains the “truth” buried in it when he uses it again. It was a “white lie.” It was a CYA move (cover your assets). Why did he lie? Because he was afraid.

Abram was worried about his life. He was afraid that someone would see Sarai and want her enough to knock him off to free her for himself. If she wasn’t “bound” to him he wouldn’t be in danger. He would be seen as her protector instead of an obstacle.

Sarai, being the compliant wife, did as he was told. She went along with Abram’s white lie. She didn’t argue with him when he said that her beauty put him in danger. She didn’t even argue that she wasn’t beautiful. She apparently knew she was beautiful and understood Abram’s fear.

I’m wondering what it was about her that made her so “beautiful.” It was an outward beauty for starters but was it also an inward beauty that drew the attention of Pharaoh’s princes? Was it that she was different from all the other women in the area? She was at LEAST 65 years old as this was her age when Abram left Haran. Today youth is valued as beautiful. Was it so in Sarai’s days?

Something that boggles my mind is that Abram is never shown to address his sins along this line. He even uses this “ruse” again in another area. Ok, I can see him getting away with the “white lie” because in essence it really was true IF he never was asked directly if Sarai was his wife. He would have had to sidestep the question to remain in the truth. But Abram never has to confront his doubt or lack of faith. He had been promised that he would be the father of a nation by God Himself. He had been promised offspring. And that had not happened yet. He didn’t trust God to protect his life to fulfill His promise. He did it his own way.

Abram didn’t follow the first “rule” Adam laid down concerning a wife. “A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). He didn’t value her above all else. He certainly didn’t follow Adam’s example of putting his relationship with her above ALL else. That was Adam’s big sin; putting his relationship with Eve above his relationship with God.

By not “cleaving” to her he put her in a terrible situation. Because she went along with his request she had no right of protection once brought into Pharaoh’s household. She was free for the taking. If Pharaoh had tried to have sexual relations with her he would have found out she was not a virgin. What would he have done to her at that point? What would she have done if commanded to service Pharaoh? Would she have refused and possibly been killed or would she have bowed to his commands and been found out?

God proved His faithfulness even in the face of man’s unfaithfulness. HE protected Sarai. He protected the integrity of His promise. He brought judgement on Pharaoh. I’m wondering how Pharaoh recognized that Sarai was the reason for his problems. Did Sarai tell him? Did she share God’s promise with him and explain what her true relationship with Abram was? Did he figure it out through some kind of divination? And why didn’t Abram receive any repercussions for the position he had put Pharaoh in?

Apparently Abram didn’t learn any “good” lessons from this experience as he repeated the SAME thing later on. He learned instead that the ruse worked and he prospered by it. NOT the lesson he needed to learn. One thing that he did learn though is that God sees ALL. He didn’t fool God with this pretense.

Father God, why didn’t Abram get in trouble? Why did he get away with putting Sarai in such a precarious position? I KNOW You don’t endorse sin and that my sins always find me out. You don’t endorse “white lies” any more than You endorse any other color of lies. Did Abram repent of his sin and we aren’t told of it? Did he apologize to Sarai for the position he put her in?

The biggest lesson I take from today’s reading is that, when YOU make a promise it comes true regardless of what man does to get in the way. Why did You choose Abram for this promise in the first place? You knew the mistakes he was going to make along the way, including listening to Sarai

when she decided to “help” with Your promise. You worked diligently with this flawed couple until they reached the place You wanted them to be. THEN You made good on Your promise. Thanks for not giving up on them! Thank You for not giving up on me too. I wonder how many “chapters” my missteps would fill. The ones YOU brought me through without serious consequences. And there have been MANY! Thank You Father for Your faithfulness, even in the face of my unfaithfulness.

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