Lying makes me want to vomit. If I am dishonest for any moment, my blood pressure doubles, my insides boil, and I can’t look anyone in the eye. I don’t know how some people do it without any reservation or remorse.
There are two kinds of lying. There are the “good” lies: storytelling, acting, performing a dance. I suppose these are honest prevarications, but essentially we are conveying something that isn’t true to reality, but might be true to a deeper level.
And then there are the “bad” lies. You can put pretty much any other lie in this category. Even if you justify it and say it must be done, it doesn’t really do any good at all, because you have to live with another person believing that what you said is the truth, forever, until you reveal otherwise. And that’s always unnerving. I don’t care how insensitive you are.
I don’t know how Abraham carries on in Genesis 20. He decides to pitch camp on the border of Egypt (the site of his last deception), and tells the authorities in that area that Sarah is his sister — again! The king sees a good woman (at 90?) and takes her for himself (v. 2). By saying Sarah is his sister, Abraham essentially gives a foreign nation permission to do what they want. Who does that?
Well, a lot of people. Men get married, and then gradually fade away, forgetting the value of the gem they once treasured. Then they’re shocked when their woman runs off with another dude. Learn from Abraham: don’t place your woman on the boundary.
The king is really upset after a scary episode with God — he confronts Abraham and reveals the lie to his face, yet Abraham continues to justify it. (v. 12) Wholly freaked out, the king unloads huge riches and tells Abraham to get out. And then it gets really juicy.
God promises Abraham a kid, and He doesn’t intend to break this promise. Yet Abraham blows it by having a kid with Hagar, a servant girl (with Sarah’s consent, no less). But it appears God understands Abraham isn’t completely done trying elsewhere, because God closes the wombs of all the women in the king’s house. (v. 18) Clearly this is a curse upon the king and his territory, but you can make a case that God is preventing Abraham from continuing in his deceptive ways and “going around” God.
Think about it. Abraham calls Sarah his sister, making him eligible to shop around the lands for a handsome ladyfriend. The dude is 100, but he’s loaded (Hugh Hefner apparently has nothing on this guy). I’m sure he’s not just looking to have a good time, but he really, really wants a son.
Does that justify lying? Of course not. Indeed, the man is desperate to carry on his family line, but God promised a son. But it appears Abraham is not concerned about God’s promise — he wants to do it himself. Again.
Abraham is a type for us to reflect upon. It’s not really about the deception, but the justification. In a sense, if we continue to deny that God knows what He is doing, we lie to ourselves, and we deceive our very existence. It’s time for us to cease our delusion: I challenge you to find confidence in the Lord today. I understand the challenge of this, especially when turmoil towers over you. But the Lord can move it.