Although Abraham distinguished himself in Bible history as a man of great faith, he was not without fault. Like all believers in the true and living God, he made some mistakes, which he had to repent of, and receive God’s forgiveness.
There was one occasion in particular when Abraham failed to trust in Yahovah God’s protection and took matters into his own hands. When his life was endangered, Abraham put his wife Sarah in a position to be sexually defiled by another man in order to save his own skin.
The incident occurs in Egypt where Abraham had to take his family to find food (Genesis 12:10-20). At the time, there was a grievous famine in the land of Canaan where Abraham lived, and he was forced to travel to Egypt which had plenty.
Even at 65 years of age, Sarah was still a beautiful woman and Abraham became fearful that the Egyptians would murder him in order to take his wife (a habit not uncommon in the Middle East). Therefore, Abraham asked Sarah to lie for him and tell the Egyptians she was his sister.
“Say, I pray thee, you are my sister; that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you.” – Genesis 12:13
Unfortunately, the king of Egypt himself (Pharaoh) took an interest in Sarah’s beauty and brought her into his harem of many wives. But before he could have sexual relations with her, God stepped in to correct Abraham’s mistake. He sent a plague on Pharaoh and his household. When Pharaoh realized what was happening – that he was under a curse, he called for Abraham and confronted him with his deceit.
“What is it you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? so that I might have taken her [sexually] to be my wife?” Now therefore, here is your wife back; take her and go your way.” – Genesis 12:18-19
Abraham’s failure to trust God to deliver him out of any trouble and resort to dishonoring his own wife shows us that Abraham’s faith was not yet fully developed; he was still morally weak. However, Abraham did much better as he grew older and wiser in his latter years. As a matter of fact, Abraham became known as the “Father of our faith” because of his overall exemplary accomplishments (Hebrews 11:8-12).
We can certainly relate to Abraham, when we examine our own lives.
How often have we made mistakes of our own? How many times have we made fools of ourselves for making wrong choices, or failing to trust God as we should? But despite these early setbacks, we can hopefully look back on our own lives and see how much better we are today than yesterday, by the grace of God. How much stronger is our faith today than it used to be, how we have spiritually grown since we first believed.
Praise be to God for never giving up on us; His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). Stop punishing yourself for the mistakes of the past, and keep looking forward to the glorious future that God has destined for you. Remember that Jesus our Lord, is the “author” and “finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He will never give up on us until He has completed his work in us. It’s not how you start the race that matters most, but how you finish.
– Luis Josephus