When reading the Bible, we often come across stories where those who walk with God are disobedient. However, these stories are not simply about what sins they have committed, but God’s reactions to them. For instance, God does not allow sin to go unpunished, yet we believe His judgments are just. Moreover, the Ten commandments state we “shall not lie.” Therefore, if we lie, we can expect to be punished. However, what if we are in a situation where telling the truth causes unjust harm to someone, do we tell the truth? Most Christians would probably chose to tell the truth, regardless. Thus, when examining those sinful acts, we wonder why God has protected them.
God protects those who walk and live for Him.. For instance, Abraham and Sara lived their lives being obedient to God. Still, there were situations where they committed sinful acts and God protected them. For example, in Genesis 12, we read how Sara was so beautiful that Abraham feared Pharaoh would kill him for her. So, he asked Sara to tell him they were brother and sister. Unknowingly, Pharaoh took Sara as his bride. Now, who is to blame for Sara’s lie: Sara, Abraham or Pharaoh? Most of us would expect God to punish Sara and Abraham, but it appears as if he does not. Instead, Pharaoh is the one who suffers misfortunes. Once he figures out Sara is Abraham’s wife, he begs Abraham to take her and their belongings and leave. However, years later, a similar event takes place with King Abimelech of Gerar (Genesis 21).
Although it is difficult to understand why and how God punishes us for misdeeds, perhaps Abraham and Sara did not go unpunished. Perhaps, they were allowed to bring their own sufferings on themselves. For instance, God sent them to the promised land of Canaan, but during that time the land was suffering from famine. Instead of trusting God, they chose to go to Egypt where the land was more prosperous. So, does this upset God that they chose to move on? If so, perhaps allowing them to go through such an experience shows them how we cannot rely on our own judgments and choices without God. The Bible does not tell us the personal conflicts that Sara and Abraham might have encountered as a result of their choices.
We must remember that sins do not go unpunished. According to Proverbs 6:29, if someone “goeth in to his neighbour’s wife, whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.” This person will be punished. However, it seems unfair since Pharaoh did not know she was Abraham’s wife. So, what is going on here? The fact is all God’s rules apply to every human being. He makes no adjustments for ignorance. You cannot simply choose to ignore Him because you do not believe He is the true God. Perhaps Pharaoh did not know of Abraham’s God before. However, simply by this experience, Pharaoh has recognized something powerful is protecting Abraham: Abraham’s God. This was an opportunity for Pharaoh to choose to worship Abraham’s God and not the idols.
So, exactly what might have been going on with Abraham? Apparently, Abraham has not learned to let God direct his paths. He still suffers from worldly fears by his previous examples: fearing for his life. Interestingly, King Abimelech recognized Abraham’s status with God and even acknowledged this before Abraham. He knew Abraham’s God existed and protected Abraham. Again, this was an opportunity for King Abimelech to worship Abraham’s God. Yet, how powerful this was as an eye-opening experience for Abraham to realize how much God loved and protected him.