Although he is known as a hero of faith (Heb. 11), Abraham’s life is that of an ordinary human being, just like ours; a life with the ups and downs along the journey of faith.
Abraham failed God twice. After he failed God in Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20), here in Negeb (Gen. 20), Abraham failed God yet again. Fearing for his life, he deceived King Abimelech by saying Sarah was his sister, which caused the king to take Sarah into his house (20:2). With his actions being governed by fear, Abraham put at risk, God’s plan to make a great nation through him and Sarah (12:1-3).
Before we judge Abraham, however, we should examine ourselves first. Many of us live in fear. We may try to hide our identity, of being a believer in Christ, so that we can be accepted in both society and at work. We may compromise our integrity due to our fear of losing our job. We may set aside our Christian values in order not to appear dated. We may withhold from sharing the gospel in order not to be ridiculed or misunderstood and thus putting someone’s eternal salvation at risk.
Despite Abraham’s failure, God intervened miraculously; He punished Abimelech and the women of his household (Gen. 20:18), so Abraham was not killed, and Sarah was returned to him, along with gifts of animals, servants, choice of land and a large amount of silver to show Sarah’s innocence and protect her reputation (Gen. 20:14-16).
If God’s marvellous plans for us are at risk because of our fear, let us bear in mind that whatever He asks us to do, he will surely bring it to completion, even if it means He needs to intervene miraculously.
Let us overcome our fear through tenacious faith in God’s presence, protection, power and promises.