Truth Telling to God’s Glory (Genesis 26:7)

Genesis 26:7 – When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance.
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Isaac, in this passage, seems to carry on a little family tradition. Abraham, Isaac’s father, twice lied to men, declaring his wife to be his sister out of fear for his own life. In both instances, Abraham found himself in very difficult situations because of his dishonesty. Now, a generation later, Isaac is repeating his father’s sin. He lies about his wife, declaring her to be his sister, and exposing her to the dangerous advances of the men of the land where they were living at the time.

What Isaac did was wrong, just as it was wrong when Abraham did the same with his wife. What these men did was abusive, exposing their wives to danger for the sake of self-protection. What they did was dishonest, deceiving the men of the land and exposing them to their own potential risk of unknowingly approaching a married woman. And, worst of all, what these men did was wrong because it was incredibly dishonoring to God.

When Isaac began to fear for his life because of the beauty of his wife, he demonstrated a true lack of faith in the promise of God. Earlier in chapter 26, God had reconfirmed his covenant promise to Isaac. The Lord told Isaac that he would be with him and take care of him just has God had done for Abraham. Yet, when circumstances got potentially sticky, Isaac resorted to the fleshly and worldly response of lying to try to protect himself.

As we read this account, it is good for us to recognize that the Bible is very real. God did not hide the shortcomings of the people in the scriptures, but made them clear. The Lord has always worked with sinful human beings. None of us is perfect. Yet, our God is so sovereign that he can take even our foolish and sometimes evil actions, and he can turn them into the accomplishment of his plan. God never authors or approves our sin, but he can use even our sin to accomplish his will. To such a God, we must give great praise and worship. (And we dare not use this truth as an excuse or license to go ahead and sin.)

We can also learn a lesson from Isaac’s behavior. It is a very natural reaction for us to think that a lie is the only way that we can be protected in a situation. However, such action is sinful. Lying dishonors God. Lying shows that we do not truly trust that God will protect us. Lying shows that we think too highly of ourselves, and that we feel we should be spared any suffering at any cost. We have been created by God for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to his name. And, let me simply say that to tell the truth, even when you have totally messed up, is more honoring and more glorifying to God than is a lie that covers up what you have done. So, let us become a people who tell the truth, even when it hurts, so that we can better be a people who live out lives that honor Christ.

Dear Lord, I confess without hesitation that I have not always lived honestly. I can remember times from childhood when I lied, thinking that my lie would be the only way to keep out of trouble. I renounce such behavior, and I commit myself to following you in truth. I pray that you will lead me to full honesty and full trust in you. Help me to know that the best way to honor you is to tell the truth, even when the truth might bring me into difficult circumstances. And I pray that your name will be most glorified in my life. I trust you to take care of me in all situations, and I ask that you will use all my life’s circumstances to demonstrate your greatness.