Sunday, January 4, 2009

SOAP: The Cost of Deception

SOAPSOAP {Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer}:

10-13 Then a famine came to the land. Abram went down to Egypt to live; it was a hard famine. As he drew near to Egypt, he said to his wife, Sarai, "Look. We both know that you're a beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you they're going to say, 'Aha! That's his wife!' and kill me. But they'll let you live. Do me a favor: tell them you're my sister. Because of you, they'll welcome me and let me live."

14-15 When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians took one look and saw that his wife was stunningly beautiful. Pharaoh's princes raved over her to Pharaoh. She was taken to live with Pharaoh.

16-17 Because of her, Abram got along very well: he accumulated sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, men and women servants, and camels. But God hit Pharaoh hard because of Abram's wife Sarai; everybody in the palace got seriously sick.

18-19 Pharaoh called for Abram, "What's this that you've done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she's your wife? Why did you say, 'She's my sister' so that I'd take her as my wife? Here's your wife back—take her and get out!"

20 Pharaoh ordered his men to get Abram out of the country. They sent him and his wife and everything he owned on their way.
GENESIS 12:10-20 [MSG]

Deception may pay short term rewards, but in the end a liar always loses.

It can seem so easy sometimes to get ahead -- a job, a promotion, material things -- by deception. Just a little white lie here and there, and presto! -- things are starting to look up.

Some have generated great wealth or achieved positions of great power through acts of deception. But in the end, they always get their due, just as Abram learned when his deception came out.

Abram lied not to get ahead, but to stay alive. His reward: Pharoah took Abram's wife to be his own and Abram received material wealth. Sort of a give/take situation. In order to safely enter Egypt, he had to share his wife with another man to stay alive and gain possessions. One would think he would rather stay out of Egypt and keep his wife.

The party ended when Pharoah learned of Abram's lies. God punished Pharoah for taking another man's wife as his own -- even though he didn't know they were married at the time. Then Pharoah punished Abram by kicking him out of Egypt.

God continued to bless Abram throughout his life, but one can only imagine the strains on that marriage after Abram and Sarai left Egypt.

There's nothing white about little white lies, Lord. Nothing good about ill-gotten gains. What does a man have if he gains the world and loses his soul? You've been very clear about that, Father: nothing -- an empty life.

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