Genesis 12:10-13: Little white lies.

“10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife.” Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.’ ” NIV

Fear can make you a coward, and cowardice can propel you towards dishonesty. I think that’s what happened to Abram in this story. We sometimes try to justify half-truths, or partial truths as ‘just little white lies.’ But a lie is a lie, and ‘truth will out.’ You will almost certainly end up wishing you hadn’t shaded the truth. Even so, it is best to be honest for the reason you should be – because it’s how God wants us to live – and not merely because you’re afraid of being found out.  This was a half-truth. Sarai was Abram’s half-sister. Warren Wiersbe writes: ‘Abraham and Sarah brought this ‘’half-truth’’ with them from Ur (Gen.20:13), used it in Egypt and Gerar, (Gen.20), and their son Isaac adopted it (Gen 26).’ ‘Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT)’, p.61.

Fear is an enemy of faith, but fears can also be dispelled by faith: ‘Fear knocked at the door; faith answered, and there was nobody there.’ As Wiersbe says, the fear of God is the fear that overcomes every other fear (Psalm 112; Isaiah 8:13), but ‘’the fear of man brings a snare’’ (Proverbs 29:25).

In Egypt, Abram got away from the altar. There is no record of him calling on God for guidance and help. It seems he took his eyes off the Lord. God had repeatedly said to Abram ‘’I will’’ (2,3), but Abram started saying, ‘’They will’’ (12). We are moving in the wrong direction when we fear people more than our God. Moreover, you can be sure that the sin of lying will find you out.

Prayer: God of truth, help me to abhor dishonesty; enable me please to be scrupulously honest.