8 Early the next morning Abimelek sent for all his officials. When he told them everything that had happened, they were really afraid. 9 Then Abimelek called Abraham in. Abimelek said, “What have you done to us? Have I done something wrong to you? Why have you brought so much guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 Abimelek also asked Abraham, “Why did you do this?” 11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There is no respect for God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister. She’s the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13 God had me wander away from my father’s house. So I said to her, ‘Here is how you can show your love to me. Everywhere we go, say about me, “He’s my brother.” ’ ” 14 Then Abimelek gave Abraham sheep and cattle and male and female slaves. He also returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelek said, “Here is my land. Live anywhere you want to.” 16 He said to Sarah, “I’m giving your brother 25 pounds of silver. This will show everyone with you that I am sorry for what I did to you. You haven’t done anything wrong.” 17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek. He also healed his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again. 18 The Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s house from having children. He had done it because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.
This is kind of a strange story. Abraham, the great father of our faith, convinces his wife Sarah to lie and say that she is his sister instead of his wife because he’s afraid of what they will do to him on account of his beautiful wife. And ironically, Abraham doesn’t seem to have a problem that in doing this, he allows Abimelek to take Sarah away to join him as either a female slave or extra wife. Hmm… not so nice.
Now before I go judging Abraham too harshly, I feel challenged to take a look at myself and think of how many times I have “bent the truth” to avoid some sort of potential pain in my life. Look at how in verse 12 Abraham justifies himself here and modifies the truth by saying, well, Sarah technically is actually my sister (as well as my wife)…
Ever since the Garden of Eden it has been in our human nature to try and hide and lie to protect ourselves when we feel threatened. Just recently I have been deeply challenged to allow myself to be really honest and face the truth even when I’m afraid of some form of pain. I am still in the process of learning this, but I’m finding it really freeing to face my fears and my weaknesses in an honest way.
It seems the older I am, the more I’ve become aware of my own weaknesses, but I’m so grateful that God is patient and gracious with me. So good to know that He really is on our side.
Written by Shelley Witt