Genesis 20: 8-13: Talking to yourself is no bad idea – but make sure you tell the truth!

“8 Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, ‘What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.’ 10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, ‘What was your reason for doing this?’ 11 Abraham replied, ‘I said to myself, “There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God caused me to wander from my father’s household, I said to her, “This is how you can show your love to me: everywhere we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’”’ NIV UK

Abraham was wrong, wasn’t he? (11). Incorrect thinking precedes defective behaving, and we will get it wrong if we tell ourselves untruths. Actually, we are always talking to ourselves, and we often get it wrong. If there was ‘’no fear of God in this place’’ (11), there certainly was now (8)! It is a sad thing when unbelievers appear more righteous than believers; when a Christian needs to be legitimately rebuked by someone outside the faith. Abraham was called to be a blessing, but in this incident he had become more of a curse.

‘…God’s chosen people are not totally righteous…people outside God’s covenant are not totally evil. All people have the capacity to respond to God, and many of them do so to varying degrees.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.161.

Here is a fascinating insight into how human-beings can stick with sinful patterns of behaviour, even when they have suffered previously because of them (11-13). It surely was obvious, after the Egyptian fiasco (12:10-20), that this was not the way for them to go in the future. But, it seems, Abraham’s original request to Sarah was not rescinded. Whenever we cease trusting and take up scheming, we will end up in trouble.

Patterns of sin can not only be deeply rooted; they can also reiterate down through generations (see chapter 26).

PRAYER: Lord, may I not bring your Name into dishonour among heathen people. Enable me, please, to live a godly life that honours you and blesses people.