I am absolutely astounded by the recorded history of the patriarchal family. To read afresh and anew the drama that surrounds their story is to be reminded of the utter depravity of mankind and the sovereign, providential Hand of God using individuals of His choice to accomplish His will despite, even because of, their wrong decisions and behavior. God works through all things, good and bad, to accomplish His purposes. This truth, of course, does not leave mankind innocent in his wrong conduct. Consequently, the reading from this week has reprimanded me as a husband and a father.
The Apostle John reminds us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18, NASB) God is love. Toward humankind, God’s love is most profoundly expressed through faith resulting in His imputed righteousness and forgiveness of sin. One who would endeavor to continuously walk with God would be one who is “walking in the light;” which is living with a clear conscious, with an understanding of who God is, and with an awareness of what true sin encompasses. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). He had the overarching promise of blessing and protection from God and yet, in his humanness, lied twice about Sarah (his wife) being his sister for fear of being killed and having her taken away because of her beauty. This brings upon him undue stress and undesired exploitation upon Sarah. I reiterate, such action was brought about by fear in the life of Abraham.
What is incredibly convicting about this is revealed in our reading from January 13th where we are told, “When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, ” the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful.” (Genesis 26:7, NASB) This verse describes Isaac, the child of promise, in regard to his wife Rebekah! Obviously, instead of learning from his father’s bad behavior; he emulates it. Both men would have done well to exemplify the words of our Lord Jesus from the January 15th reading of the devotional Bible; “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28-31, NASB) Regardless of the appearance of circumstances surrounding the child of God, providential care and purpose sustain ultimate existence.
As a husband and a father, I realize my actions more profoundly teach than do my words. I pray that the love of God through faith in Christ and His righteousness credited to me result in behavior that honors Him and witnesses well to a watching world; encouraging those closest to me to imitate Him and not a fearful husband and father!