Genesis 20 is an interesting chapter about Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and his family have moved on to Negev and settled. They are in a new place and when the locals show up to see who has moved in, “Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.”” So Abimelech, the king sent for and took her. He didn’t know any differently and was looking for another good woman. God intervenes and tells Abimelech that it was a bad plan to sleep with Sarah. So bad in fact, that his life was in jeopardy and would be taken if he did. Of course Abimelech back pedals as fast as he can and blames Abraham for lying to him about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife. Then Abimelech confronts Abraham about the issue at hand – TRUTH. Of course Abraham has his reasons and excuses: “I just assumed that there was no fear of God in this place…..besides, the truth is that she is my half sister”. You see any issues here. Finger pointing, excuses, half truths, lots of things that just really don’t fit in God’s plan for TRUTH.
So what is a lie? That is really the crux of the matter here. I love what the Clarke Commentary says “It is any action done or word spoken, whether true or false in itself, which the doer or speaker wishes the observer or hearer to take in a contrary sense to that which he knows to be true. It is, in a word, any action done or speech delivered with the intention to deceive, though both may be absolutely true and right in themselves”. Abraham told part of the truth. But he failed to mention the most important part – that Sarah was his wife. Why? Because he was afraid for his life. Seems like a justified position doesn’t it? Not in God’s economy. Abraham assumed. He figured that the place he was was godless and would mistreat him so that justified his actions didn’t it? Seems like a logical conclusion. But not in God’s sight. The reality is that Abraham set up Abimelech to do something that would have cost him and his family their lives. A little white lie – call it a half truth if you want – but it wasn’t TRUTH. It also would have ended their heritage as “God had shut down every womb in Abimelech’s household”. Simple little half truth – look at the potential for damage here. People die, generations would never be born. Be careful little mouth what you say….or don’t say. TRUTH is God’s complete expectation. Anything less falls short of His requirement. In clear words – that is sin!