The Bible says that “Perfect love cast out FEAR” 1 John 4:18 ESV. Abram had a wife named Sarai. She was so beautiful Abram FEARED the Egyptians would kill him so that they could have her. Consequently, he asked her to lie and say that she was his sister. Not only did Abram ask this of her once, but twice.
First in Genesis chapter 12, “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you” 12:13 NASB. And once again in Genesis chapter 20, “And there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister. Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her” Genesis 20:2 NIV.
Can you imagine being Sarah? She has just been taken by a foreign king and could be raped or endangered. It seems Abram cared more about his safety than hers. He put himself above his wife and even said, “That I may remain alive”.
The interesting thing is it happens again after he has been given a new name and an amazing promise from The Lord Adonai. Yahweh even told him He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him! You would think he would have learned the first time in chapter 12 but like most of us, he has to go around the same mountain a few times.
Let’s look at the horrific state of what happened.
“When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
But the Lord INFLICTED SERIOUS DISEASES ON PHARAOH and his HOUSEHOLD because of Abram’s wife Sarai” Genesis 12:14-17 NIV.
Now, why wouldn’t HaShem inflict Abram? Why would he inflict Pharaoh when it was His patriarch that lied? You would think that when Abram was rewarded and given sheep, cattle, and servants from Pharaoh he would have had guilt. Did he wonder how his wife was fairing all alone in the palace of a foreign king? That is where we come back to the original verse I started with, “Perfect LOVE cast out FEAR.”
If Abram would have had perfect love for his wife he would have put her above himself and her safety would have been front and center.
That’s the problem with many, we make it all about us and not others. We want what’s best for ourselves. In the end, Abraham is humiliated and confronted by a pagan king as to why he lied. HaShem protected Sarah both times.
But what is the whole thought of the verse about fear? Psalms 25:12 says, “Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose” NASB. Once we have a healthy fear of The Lord Adonai it is then, and only then, that He can teach us. Once we have this fear we will want to learn what pleases him. Abram didn’t fear HaShem enough nor TRUST Him and therefore he brought sin and sickness on innocent bystanders. He has not learned perfect love yet, not for his God and surely not for his wife.
The bible says, “The friendship of Yahweh is with those who fear him. He will show them his covenant” Psalm 25:14WEB. So let’s get this whole message straight. First, we must fear the Lord Elohim and then we will LOVE HIM PERFECTLY! Most of the church goers today do not understand this type of message. They get the LOVE part but the FEAR part, not so much, and this is where sin creeps in. And the Bible says, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12 ESV.
Abraham should have learned his lesson when his sin was exposed by the plagues sent on Pharaoh’s court but he didn’t. We get to Genesis 20 and he has lied again, this time, God closes all the wombs to protect Sarah and gives the king a dream warning him not to touch Sarah. He tells him to return her to her husband because he is a prophet. Just a few chapters prior, in Genesis 15:6, the bible says that “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” HCSB. He believed God would give him a son and his seed would be as the stars. However, when it came to protection from the Egyptians, he did not. Paul said, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and GAVE HIS LIFE for it” Ephesians 5:25 GWT.
Abraham said to Sarah, “So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you” Genesis 12:13 NLT.
If we want to love our Father perfectly, first we must FEAR HIM and when we fear Him enough we will put sin behind us and our life won’t matter. It is then that we have PERFECT LOVE. A bride is a picture of the church. Once Abraham reached a point of maturity then he was ready to sacrifice even his son’s life on the altar. King Gerar wraps this message up.
“And to Sarah he (King Gerar) said, “Behold, I have given your brother (Abraham) a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to you A COVERING OF THE EYES, to all that are with you, and with all other: thus she was reproved” Genesis 20:16 AKJV.
Abraham should have been Sarah’s protector but failed. Yahweh is our protector and ultimately if we fear Him enough, we will love Him with a perfect love. Eventually, Abraham was able to mature and reach a level of ultimate favor and blessings! Can we obtain perfect love? Of course, we can, but it will ultimately mean dying to ourselves, fearing Him more and trusting Him with our whole being.
Photography by Ândrēw Yīsrâ’Ęl