Abram’s Momentary Lack of Faith

Genesis 12:11–13 (ESV)

"When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”

Even a hero of faith such as Abram can have his moments of questionable judgment, as we see here in the 12th chapter of Genesis. Instead of trusting God in His covenantal relationship (Genesis 12:1-3), Abram took matters into his own hands to secure his life and in doing so, left Sarai completely vulnerable to adultery after being taken in to Pharaoh’s palace.

Rather than loving his wife as himself (see Ephesians 5:33; Leviticus 19:18), considering her welfare, and guarding her honor, Abram was concerned with only his own welfare—“that it may go well with me”. Further, Abram remains silent not only when Sarai was taken to the palace, but also when she was taken as Pharaoh’s wife. In this way Abram was the cause of the additional sin of adultery on the part of Sarai and Pharaoh. Even more stunning was when confronted with his misbehavior, Abram said nothing. He simply took Sarai and departed.

How did all of this happen? Quite simply, Abram was a man just like us today. When faced with a trial, we relegate God to the backburner and assume we must follow our own path of salvation to remedy the situation. We become numb to feeling His presence and assume we must go it alone and trust our own instincts.

This is a wonderful lesson in obedience. We see how when our faith in God lapses, our obedience suffers proportionally. In Abram’s case, it is hard to imagine God blessing someone who would do this to his wife. It’s a question we likely put to ourselves as well in light of our own sinful behavior. We know where we have been and the things we have done, both in secret and in the open. And when we allow those memories to flash across the movie screens of our minds, we might ask ourselves the very same question: “Look at my life! Why would God pick me? Why would He bless me? Why would He care for me?” These very questions—not thrown at us by our enemies, but eating at us from within our own guilty consciences—can be quite debilitating.

But just like Abram, God will use us to fulfill His purposes even with full knowledge of our own sinful behavior. We see this theme running throughout the Bible that the plans of God will never be thwarted by man (Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:27).

Take comfort in this story from Genesis. It will not be the last time Abram’s judgment is questionable, yet God blesses him immensely. And so He will with you, too. Recognize that no sin is too great, or no distance is too far for you to return to Christ. His blood is more than enough to redeem you if only you will believe, repent, and come home.