Genesis 12:14-20

When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels. But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone.” And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.  Genesis 12:14-20


This little nugget needs to shock you.  It is the sort of passage we find in the Bible that we are likely to just skip past as we follow the plot.  So how about if we describe it this way – Abraham pimped his wife to save his own skin.  And Pharaoh took him up on it.


Immediately we see what is at stake – everything.


Should Abraham lose Sarah then the promise of fathering offspring who would inherit the land would go away with her.  If…that is…she really mattered.


Evidently she didn’t.


As I said yesterday, this story was written long after the events it describes.  Centuries after the events it describes.  Which means the story was carefully crafted.  That actually makes it more surprising to us.  I’m always surprised when I cross those stories that don’t put the heroes of Israel in such a great light.  Our modern tendency is to bury the foibles and mistakes and misjudgments of our heroes.


But what if this story was finally put together in lasting form as the people of Israel were crawling back from a generation of suffering in Babylon, beginning to rebuild their lives in the land they had almost forgotten?  What if they were still trying to come to grips with the shock of thinking themselves the chosen people of God and yet watching everything fall apart?  What question might they have been asking?


How about – What did we do wrong? Or – Where do we go from here?


And what if, in their self reflection, they decided that their lack of real devotion to God was the seed that sprouted in all sorts of misbehavior and thus they felt themselves having been judged harshly and punished by God through the Babylonians…but now they were getting another chance to start again?  They had turned away from God just as Abraham had used Sarah for his own protection?


So we see it again.  The real message of our faith isn’t our own purity, perfection, or performance – the real message of our faith is the providence, the protection, the provision, and the forgiving love of God.  God is the God of the seventy times seven chances to turn around and try again. 


Our mistakes do not define us.  Thus there is no need to bury our foibles and mistakes and misjudgments and sin.  Better always to own them, acknowledge them, confess them, make right what can be made right, and move on.


Let us pray:  Forgive us, O Lord, when we take matters into our own hands, driven by motives of fear, selfishness, and pride.  Forgive us when we use others rather than loving them.  And give us the humility that allows us to forgive ourselves.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


3 Responses to “Genesis 12:14-20”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    This story speaks to me and shows me that I am not the master of my life. When I sin and fall short, (which I do often), I need to humble myself and confess to the Lord, ask his forgiveness, and move on, leaving my life in His hands. He alone is the Master.
    It is great to once again see your uplifting devotions in my email box daily, Pastor Kerry. Thank you!

  2. Joyce Anderson Says:

    Good to get your devotions again. My day had not been complete without them. I really like the comments from others. We know life is in God’s hands. To always trust is hard. Joyce anderson

  3. Says:

    Either double major with journalism and creative writing, or a “good” school in an urban area where I could major in journalism and minor in creative writing? I’m only a sophmore in high school but I know I love to write and I don’t know what I’d enjoy more as an actual career, journalism or creative writing. What would be the best college for someone like me?.

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