For the second recorded time in his life (the first being Gen. 12:10-20), Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister. He was motivated by fear as he traveled in a foreign land; he was afraid that someone would want to take Sarah as his own wife and kill him to have her. Fear, not faith, was controlling the patriarch at this point. God had promised to bless those who blessed Abraham and to curse those who treated him with contempt (12:3), but that promise had been forgotten, or disbelieved, in the moment.
But there was another troubling aspect to Abraham’s deception. Just before this, God’s messengers told Abraham and Sarah that within a year they would have the son they had been waiting for (18:13-14). But here we see that Abraham allowed his wife to fall into the hands of King Abimelech, presumably to be his wife. Abraham’s faithlessness in this moment not only dishonored his wife and showed a lack of faith in God, it also jeopardized the promise of a son from his own body through Sarah.
Yet God intervened and protected and preserved Sarah and the promise. Abraham’s act of faithlessness almost caused much more harm than he could ever have imagined.
How are you struggling to trust God right now?