Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a time, because the famine was severe in the land. 11 It came about, when he was approaching Egypt, that he said to his wife Sarai, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman;12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well for me because of you, and that <sup class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.625em; line-height: normal; position: relative; vertical-align: text-top; top: auto; display: inline;" data-fn="#fen-NASB-312j" data-link="[j]”>[j]I may live on account of you.” – Genesis 12:10-13
Yes, I’m quoting from the musical Camelot again… This time, however, the reference is brief and filled with false bravado. Lancelot presents himself as the most godly man he knows. See below for the full lyrics. They’re priceless.
Several years ago in a couple’s Bible study, we heard of an encounter between a dangerous dragon and a chivalrous knight, who was protecting his damsel in distress. As he set off to slay the dragon, the damsel says something like, “No! Don’t use that sword. Take this poison. It will work so much better.” It struck pretty deeply in my heart: Being told how to rescue someone in distress might not be the most affirming experience – to put it mildly.
Contrast that, however, to this foolish idea of Abram. He tells Sarai to pass herself off as his sister to save his own skin. Seems he didn’t really care about Sarai’s welfare. Seems he didn’t really even have a long-range plan. If ever there was a time for the damsel to tell the knight what to do, and how to keep them safe, that would have been the time. Sarai doesn’t say anything. We have no idea what she thought. And Abram’s plans end up failing. Except Pharaoh does send them away – apparently safely – when the encounter is ended.
In a time of rampant blame-sharing, this doesn’t seem that unusual. Why did you do that Sarai? Abram told me to.
Does this remind you of anything?
- To Eve in the Garden: What is this you have done? The serpent tempted me and I ate the fruit.
- What is this that you have done, Adam? The woman you gave me gave me the fruit and I ate it.
Us in our day:
- I can’t be held responsible for these poor financial decisions. I’ve never been taught about how to handle money.
- I’m sorry you’re upset with me. I hope you get over it soon.
- I can’t help it if I got the job by being more cunning than you.
What if we all just took responsibility for our own actions? What if we owned up to our failures and simply said, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” Such is the currency of God’s reign and rule. Truth and grace. Sin and contrition. Confession and forgiveness. Repentance and life.
We’re not told specifically that Abram or Sarai – or Pharaoh for that matter – ever repented. But the story does go on, and Abram will have other opportunities to blame or to take responsibility. Thankfully God is gracious and allows even sinners who blame others to come to repentance. And faith. And salvation. And life.
It all started from the foundation of eternity when God determined to redeem a world that had not yet been made, but would be taken captive by sin. But it all comes to fruition when we take responsibility for our own actions and seek God’s mercy. Given in Jesus. Sustained by the Holy Spirit.
Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post.
The soul of a knight should be a thing remarkable,
His heart and his mind as pure as morning dew.
With a will and a self-restraint
That’s the envy of ev’ry saint
He could easily work a miracle or two.
To love and desire he ought to be unsparkable,
The ways of the flesh should offer no allure.
But where in the world
Is there in the world
A man so untouched and pure?
(C’est moi!)C’est moi! C’est moi, I blush to disclose.
I’m far too noble to lie.
That man in whom
These qualities bloom,
C’est moi, c’est moi, ’tis I.
I’ve never strayed
From all I believe;
I’m blessed with an iron will.
Had I been made
The partner of Eve,
We’d be in Eden still.
C’est moi! C’est moi! The angels have chose
To fight their battles below,
And here I stand, as pure as a pray’r,
Incredibly clean, with virtue to spare,
The godliest man I know!