Genesis 12:17-20: The sanctity of marriage.

“17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. ‘What have you done to me?’ he said. ‘Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, “She is my sister,” so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!’ 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. ” NIV

It is a serious thing to violate the sanctity of a marriage. It’s not surprising, then, that major consequences were visited on Pharaoh’s household (17). You may say, ‘But Pharaoh didn’t know what he was doing.’ That’s true, but this was, in part, God’s way of alerting him to the fact that something was awry.It was an alarm bell ringing loudly in his palace. God was merciful to Abram and Sarai (and Pharaoh), enabling them to get out of this sinful situation. Abram and Sarai were also able to escape Egypt with their lives.

How terrible it is when we tarnish our testimony by compromised behaviour and fall under the rebuke of ungodly people. Pharaoh comes out of this looking better than Abram. God called Abram to be a blessing to the nations (12:1-3), but because Abram was disobedient, judgment came upon Pharaoh and his family. This was contradictory to the call on Abram’s life. It was not why God had raised him up. Some sins cling tightly to us. We don’t easily shake them off. (Certain ones even seem to run in family lines). There was to be a repeat of this particular failing in chapter 20, and later in the life of Abram and Sarai’s boy, Isaac. Even great men and women of God can have potentially fatal character flaws, and be slow to learn. Thank God for His mercy shown to us in Jesus. There can be forgiveness and mercy as we trust in Him. Someone said ‘the victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.’ However there may also be unwanted consequences that cannot be avoided. Everything Abram got in Egypt was to cause him problems at a future date.

‘If you want to be a blessing to others, then stay in the will of God. Jonah ran from God’s will and caused a storm that almost sank the ship. Like Jonah, Abraham lost his testimony before unbelievers and had to face embarrassment and rebuke…If Sarah had become one of Pharaoh’s wives, what would have happened to the promise of the Redeemer? When we don’t let God rule, He overrules and accomplishes His purposes, but we pay dearly for our disobedience.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT)’, p.61.

PRAYER: I see, Lord, that there is much at stake in the way I live from day to day. Apart from your grace and mercy I would be lost. Please help me to so live that I bring honour to your Name and not disgrace.