Weird is the New Normal: A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis, Day Twelve

Weird is the New Normal:  A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis
 
Weird – “of strange or extraordinary character.”
Normal – “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”
  • Merriam Webster
Day Twelve – “Lord will you really put an innocent nation to death?” – Abimelech (Gen. 20: 4)
We have been talking about weird things happening so often that they become a “normal” pattern.  Today’s question is a good example.  Can we all admit that passing your wife off as your sister is weird…especially for one of the patriarchs of our religion?  If it just happened once, it might not be quite so weird.  Maybe Abraham just had some kind of “lapse” of judgment.  But twice?  Weird!
The first time was in Genesis 12: 10-20.  They were in Egypt, and Abram says to Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are.” (Awww! Thanks, Honey!  You are not bad looking yourself!)  “So, if the Egyptians see you and think you are my wife, they will kill me and let you live.  Please say that you are my sister, so that I may be treated well for your sake.” (Abe, you should have quit while you were ahead!)  But Sarai goes along…and the Egyptians take her to Pharaoh.  And Abram was treated well, and received sheep and cattle and donkeys and servants and camels.  But then Pharaoh was afflicted with serious diseases, and somehow he found out that it was connected to the new woman he had added to his harem…that she was, in fact, Abram’s wife.  “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?” Pharaoh asked Abram.  Let’s let that question hang there for a bit.
The second time (Genesis 20), Abraham tells King Abimelech that Sarah is his sister. Abimelech takes Sarah off to his palace. But God comes to Abimelech in a dream and says, “You are as good as dead, because the woman you have taken is a married woman.”  That’s when we get our question for today.  “Lord, will you really put an innocent nation to death?”  The answer is, “No.”  That’s why God was warning Abimelech in a dream before he went too far with Sarah.  God knew Abimelech had a clean conscience.  Abimelech went to Abraham and asked, “What have you done to us?” 
Both Pharaoh and Abimelech have every right to angrily question Abraham.  Abraham lied to them.  Now, we could try to somehow justify what Abraham did…Sarah was evidently his “half” sister, because they had the same father but not the same mother. But come on…we wouldn’t let our kids get away with telling us “half” the truth, would we?  So, let’s not sugar coat what Abraham did, either.  He was afraid, so he lied.  He lied, twice, and both times happened right after God had made a pledge to Abraham to prosper him, keep him safe, and make him a great nation.  Unbecoming behavior for the patriarch of three of the world’s major religions…
Bottom line?  Abraham was a great man of faith, but he was only human…imperfect, but mightily used by God anyway.
Reflection:  What do you think about Abraham being a “liar,” but God using him anyway?
Action: Pray and ask how God wants to use imperfect YOU today!
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