So today I’m reading all about Abram….later known as Abraham. Abram was married to Sarai (who is later known as Sarah). I won’t bore you with all the genealogy and events that have led up to this point, but by Genesis 12:13 Abram and Sarai are getting ready to enter Egypt.
Sarai must be a gorgeous woman because Abram knew the Egyptian men they encountered were going to want to “know” Sarai, in the Biblical sense (admit it, that was corny but funny). Now that must be one good looking woman….especially considering they were already into their 70s at this point. She must be like Tina Turner….eternally youthful. From Genesis 12:13, “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.”
Abram, not wanting to depend on God to protect him, concocts this plan that they will lie and claim that Sarai is his sister instead of his wife. Just as Abram expected, the Egyptians … particularly the Pharoah …. were enamored with Sarai’s beauty. Sarai was invited into the home of Pharoah to become his wife. And Abram benefited from this arrangement. Genesis tells us the Pharoah gave Abram lots of material possessions and took care of him because he thought Abram was his brother-in-law.
Pharoah sounds like a pretty good guy at this point. He is showering Sarai’s family with riches. However, Pharoah began to suffer. Abram exposed the Pharoah and Sarai to sin. Usually when a pharoah is mentioned in the Bible, it’s not good. He looks greedy, stubborn, evil. However, in this case the leader did not know he was sinning. He was, in part, a victim. And yet, he still suffered consequences. He was a homewrecker and didn’t even know it.
Once the pharoah realized why the plagues were afflicting him, he confronted Abram and asked him to leave. He probably thought, “Why would Abram, my friend, lie to me? I did so much for him. I gave him livestock, money, so many things and he betrayed me.” I can only imagine the betrayal and anger he must have felt. He must have wondered why God punished him when clearly Abram was the one who knowingly lied.
There are so many times when we are punished for others’ bad choices and behavior. It’s just not fair. It’s just not right. However, when I am faced with those feelings of betrayal, one of the hardest but best things to remember is they are no different than me. I am Abram…..and I am the Pharoah. I’ve been betrayed, but I’ve been the betrayer. It’s so much easier to dole out mercy and grace when I remember that I’ve received it, too….and in heaping doses.