Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 15, 2015

the friend of God

It has happened to all of us (and I mean all).  It may have been someone in our family, at our place of employment, at our church (or all of the above) who took the self-serving opportunity to lie right to our face.  And even worse, you and I have been guilty of the same ugly sin of lying!  It can be couched in different language, such as shading the truth, not telling all the facts or telling a little white lie, but in the end, a lie is a lie. When someone we have a meaningful relationship with chooses to lie to us, something happens … trust is diminished.  Sadly, all of us have also been the one who told the little white lie (or the bold faced one) and harmed a relationship. But not Abraham!

Abraham is one of my heroes. Reading about his life has always been meaningful and faith building. He is in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews eleven.  When God told him to leave his country and his family and go to a place that the Father would show him, he went!  God gave he and Sarah a miracle baby, and everyone knows the story of how this great man was willing to sacrifice Isaac, that sacred, promised son.  God said of Abraham,  And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.  (James 2:23 NLT)  Does is get any better than that?

In God’s great plan, He has allowed us to see Abraham in great moments and in not-so-great moments.  Pulling back the curtain on any of our lives gives a similar picture; days we are proud of and days of regret.  In the story of Abraham’s life portrayed in the book of Genesis, there are some definite highs and lows.  Two of the lowest times were when he was self-serving and lied (chapters 12 and 20). To be honest, it’s hard for me to read the depth of the lies and the potential peril to his wife Sarah.

The names of Abraham and Sarah were still Abram and Sarai when they got to Canaan, the place of God’s leading.  Life for them was a mirror of what Christ-followers experience today … a trial in the place of God’s leading.  There was a famine in the land and rather than trust God for provision, Abram led his family to Egypt.  To be honest, I’ve made similar decisions without input from the Father.  Leaning on my own understanding has often been more convenient that trusting the FatherAbram went from famine to a precarious position.  Genesis 12:10-13(MSG) give us a sad picture of a great man.

Then a famine came to the land. Abram went down to Egypt to live; it was a hard famine. As he drew near to Egypt, he said to his wife, Sarai, “Look. We both know that you’re a beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you they’re going to say, ‘Aha! That’s his wife!’ and kill me. But they’ll let you live. Do me a favor: tell them you’re my sister. Because of you, they’ll welcome me and let me live.”

The results could have been disastrous. But God protected Sarai, and showed grace on Abram.  But how could he have stooped so low? Lying was horrible, but putting his wife at risk was also unbelievably self-serving.  And in chapter twenty, we see Abraham putting Sarah at potential risk again, with the sister story. We could call the lie a half-truth since she was his half-sister (read chapter 20), but a half- truth is still a lie. What a sad picture of great man! Make no mistake, sin always has results.

Abraham is still my hero. He blew it, and so have you and I. There was no excuse for putting Sarah at risk, and there are no excuses when you and I give half-truths or tell little white lies which hinder relationships and harm our testimony before others.  But God showed great grace on Abraham, and his life was such that he was called the friend of God.  There is so much to be learned from Abraham’s story….from his failures to his faith!  We know our failures, but we also can be known for our faith!

WILL YOU?!

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