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The Confusion and Flaws of Abraham “Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well” (Ge

Although Abraham is called the Father of Faith, he had character flaws like we all do. Sometimes we forget that the great heroes of faith were actually real people with real flaws. We often elevate them to “super spiritual” status as though they never struggled and were perfect in every way. Not only is this wrong from a Biblical standpoint, it is also wrong from a practical standpoint. All people have a sin nature and thus all people have character flaws, even the great heroes of faith that we read about in the Bible. For example, did you know that Abraham tried to “help” God when it came to his fulfilling His promise of a child for Abraham? How did he do it? He decided it made good sense to sleep with his wife’s maidservant so as to “speed” God’s plan along.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go into my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16:1-2 NASB)
I wonder if Abraham would have been so willing to listen to his wife had she recommended that he take out the garbage three times a day! I seriously doubt it. However, when it came to sleeping with another woman to “help” God fulfill His promise and give them a son, we see that Abraham was a very “obedient” husband. Big mistake. Abraham and the maidservant Hagar had a son they named Ishmael. The problem is that he was not the child of promise. Sarah immediately had a conflict with the maidservant and eventually, both Hagar and Ishmael were sent packing. All because Abraham decided that he needed to “help” God fulfill his promise, something that unfortunately we all do from time to time as well. Can anybody currently relate? But there is more. Did you know that Abram lied about his wife Sarah and said she was his sister, not once but twice?!?

Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’, and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” (Genesis 12:10-13 NASB)
Technically, Abraham was telling the truth. Sarah was the daughter of Abraham’s father Terah, but from another mother than that of Abraham (see Gen. 20:12). However, as we can see from the passage above, the future “Father of Faith” was sometimes the “father of fear.” He was looking to protect himself from any potential harassment by the wicked Egyptians. And his plan worked, sort of. Pharaoh took Sarah into his palace while he lavished Abraham with all kinds of gifts. But then God intervened and inflicted Pharaoh and his household with serious diseases.
Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him. (Genesis 12:18-20 NASB)
God in His grace rescued Abraham and Sarah from what could have a massive disaster. Can you imagine the conversation Sarah had with Abraham on their way out of Egypt? I think it is safe to say that he was in her dog house for a while! Thus, you would think that Abraham learned his lesson, right? Wrong.
Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar. Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. (Genesis 20:1-2 NASB)
Once again we see that the future “Father of Faith” became the “father of fear.” God had more than shown his power and faithfulness to Abraham since first calling him to leave his home for the Promised Land. Yet, when faced with uncertainty and insecurity, we see that Abraham struggled with fear. Sounds a lot like us, doesn’t it? Why is this? Because, like Abraham, we are real people who face this real scary thing called life. Uncertainty and insecurity often freeze our faith to the point that we are engulfed in fear. We cannot think straight, pray straight, or even talk straight. We move from faith to fear and then do anything we can to try to survive, even those things that we know as God’s people we shouldn’t be doing. Can anybody currently relate?
Today’s Prayer: Dear Lord, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Far too often my faith freezes in the face of uncertainty and insecurity. I know that you are perfect in all your ways and that you are the Sovereign Lord of all. May your perfect, holy and pleasing will be done in and through my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.
For further reading: Genesis 12:10-20; 16, 20

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