GENESIS 20: FEAR & LOVE
When I was younger, I killed just about every member of my family using them as excuses when I had to be absent from school. The truth was, mommy would tell us we had to stay home that day because she ran out of lunch to give us. And so, I lied to cover my shame, and would forge her signature on letters about my absence. I was sick, my grammy died at least five times (all of my grandparents are alive and well), and because my father lived in another country, I was away on a family emergency. I did it to protect myself from being teased and hurt, and this deceptive kind of self-protection found its way into many of my reasons throughout the years.
I was reminded of this experience in my life today when I began to read Genesis 20, where Abraham and Sarah deceive Abimelek and tell him that Sarah is his sister. Now, Sarah is his half sister genetically so he wasn’t lying, but he left out the more important truth, and his motive was self protection. I had to ask myself:
What was Abraham afraid of, didn’t he just boldly intercede with God on behalf of Lot before Sodom and Gomorrah burned?
Didn’t God just come to Abraham and changed his name, and gave him a promise?
Why was Abraham giving away the means to the promise when God said, his seed would come by Sarah?
Despite just having encountered God in the most intimate of ways, Abraham still felt the need to protect himself. He like many of us succumbed to the temptation of his fear and instead of bringing that fear captive to the Word of God, he devised an ungodly plan. Because of this deception, Abraham caused all of the women in Abimelek’s household to become barren, as God immediately shut their wombs (vs 20). And I can’t help but wonder, who I may have hurt or put at risk and what I may have sacrificed when I surrendered to my fear instead of surrendering the fear to God.
Because timing is God’s playground, trusting Him can often times prove more difficult than we imagine. Moreover, because we have problems truly grasping that God cares about EVERY area of our lives, we tend to think we should handle sections L-Q and God will handle the rest. This is definitely something I still struggled with, I have wasted so much money on projects because I wanted to take the reigns and not trust God. We can even say the same in our daily needs, we find ourself running back to an old relationship because we don’t think God will protect us from being lonely (platonic friendship or otherwise).
You see, the opposite of love in this moment is not hate, but fear. Fear that God won’t come through, that He won’t protect us and keep us, this fear drives us to act in unloving ways (“If you love Me keep my commandments John 14:15”). Fear drives us to act like we don’t trust God, and truthfully, if we are acting in fear then we really do have trust issues. Acting in fear is a judgement of who God is, and challenges His character and capability, fear says, “God isn’t enough on His own,” and “He doesn’t care about this situation.” Fear lies to us and tells us God’s love is condition. God doesn’t need your help beloved or mine, He asks that you and I submit to His love so that a responsive love can be awakened in us (1 John 4:19). A love that is perfect, and perfects, and casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Beloved, God has our backs! I know, this is easier said than done, but we have to give it all over to Him. We have to let go and fully surrender to God. You and I do not have time to focus on enacting our plan B to His divine plan A, because not only is it foolish, but we will end up being put to shame (whether publicly or in our private space). Abraham told Abimelek he deceived him because he thought that only godless people were in Gerar (vs. 11), but he like us forgot one thing: even when there are no godly people around, God is always there. No amount of ungodly people in your area or home will make God move less in your favor. He is for you, He is for me. Remember that Jesus leaves the 99 and goes to seek and save the one lost soul, it is no different (Matthew 18:12). God is wherever you are, and so is His protection, provision, mercy and grace.
What’s the point? Don’t move in fear and put people at risk, move in truth and take your fear to the One who knows how to heal you of it. Abraham didn’t have the scriptures telling him that God did not give him the spirit of fear but of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). We have this knowledge. Instead of being a slave to fear, make it a slave to the powerful and sharp Word of God that will rend it from you, and control your mind and emotions knowing this truth: God loves me and will withhold nothing good from me when I do what is right (Psalm 84:11).