9 Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done.” 10 And Abimelech asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ‘ “
When Abraham is confronted about lying to Abimelech regarding who Sarah truly is (Abraham’s wife, not his sister), Abraham says -“I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.”
Much can be said about this whole episode. Abraham was wrong about there being no faith there. He did not learn anything from the same sin committed with Pharaoh years before. He continues to lie to Abimelech about why he lied about Sarah… .
But the striking thing about this episode here is Abraham’s reasoning. He reasons that since he is among a godless people, it is legitimate to take matters into his own hands in order to preserve himself from harm. This is a man who has seen a whole valley utterly destroyed by God for its immorality. That alone should have taught him to live properly and also that God can take care of the enemies of the faithful without them having to resort to lying to protect themselves.
The irony is that since Abraham thinks he is among a people who do not fear God, it is proper for him to put the fear of God aside and behave the same way that the godless would. If Abraham truly feared God then he would not have lied.
Christians are called to live godly, not only when in the presence of the godly. They are called to live godly in the presence of the ungodly. Especially in the presence of the ungodly. We are called to live our lives as strangers here in godliness, not conformed to the world, not taken captive by the godless philosophies of the age that pound on us incessantly. We are to willingly and joyfully count the cost of following Christ when others do not.
A faith that reasons that we only have to be faithful in the presence of the faithful, or when it will not garner opposition, is not much of a faith at all. Abraham would learn this lesson. We need to learn it as well and not think that there are times when it is acceptable to resort to our own devices and abandon the commandments, the discipleship, the willing obedience, in all circumstances that God enables His followers to exhibit.
Following Jesus Christ is a 24/7 calling. Today, do not be God’s fair weather friend. Remain faithful to Him no matter the cost – as Christ did for you.