If you ever have to give evidence in a court here, you have to either swear or affirm that you will speak ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’.
The thing is, you can say something that is true, but it’s not really the truth. Adverts are full of it. You can be an ‘international speaker’ which means you once gave a 5-minute testimony at a small group in one other country. Your book sales have seen 100% growth, if you sold one last year and two this year. Or you might class yourself as ‘between employment’ if you’ve just been sacked.
It was true that Abraham and Sarah were siblings – half brother and sister, but the truth was that they were married. And that made a huge difference.
As I suggested in the last post, it seems Abraham has had a crisis of faith. Now, instead of trusting God and looking forward to his promised new offspring, he jeopardises not only his marriage, but his wife’s safety, and the possibility of laying claim to any pregnancy that might miraculously arise. (Genesis 20) Faith is swallowed up in fear, (v11) which leads to deception, which could have had disastrous results. We tend to think that trusting God is a dangerous path. But rather not trusting him is far more dangerous!
It’s fairly clear why Abraham and Sarah chose to ‘bend the truth’. He felt threatened. But why do we? What are we afraid of? On many occasions, we do it to make ourselves sound a bit bigger, more important, more successful. So we are more afraid of what man thinks of us, than what God thinks. It slips out of our mouths so easily; sometimes it’s not even what we have said, so much as what we have left unsaid, which has given a false impression.
For Abraham, the truth, the whole truth came out. God was on the case. And of course Abimelech wanted to know why. I think he felt cheated, let down, sullied by the incident. The pagan king was dishonoured by God’s man. What a state! It behoves us to think carefully before we let others get false impressions of us – I’d rather people found out from me what I’m really like, than God having to tell them the whole truth!