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It says that Abraham feared for his life (Gen 12:12). Does this mean Abraham didn't trust God in spite of the NT view that Abraham was a man of faith (Heb 11:8-12, Gal 3:9)?

Why is the repeated mistake with Abimilech then recorded in Gen 20?

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I think that it was only a half lie! He could have just said that "she is my wife" and either way God would have protected him. On the other hand they still had the same father but different mothers so yeah, just a half lie. –  user1307 Feb 13 '12 at 21:40

3 Answers 3

First of all, God did protect Abraham:

But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.
--Gen 12:17

For the rest of it, it was a matter of Faith on Abraham's part. His faith wavered, and he so he acted in this instance out of fear of man, rather than fear of God.

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Please note that your answer had been migrated to a slightly different question. You might want to review it and see if it can be edited in light of the new question. Thanks. –  Caleb Sep 28 '11 at 5:36

Regardless of his faith, Abraham was still a man - he had not yet been perfected: he was still on his walk of progressive sanctification.

The same question could be asked as to why David sinned with Bathsheba, or why Samson fell for Delilah.

And any of countless more examples - the men and women portrayed in the Bible were not perfect (excepting Christ). Even Peter, who had been with Jesus since the earliest days of His ministry, denied him three times during the trial before the Sanhedrin.

Every instance is an opportunity to showcase God's faithfulness, mercy, and grace - even when his chosen ones fail Him.

Even those with the stoutest faith in God can forget or become fearful: while backsliding or temporarily turning from God to our own wisdom is never promoted, it is the entire life story that must be examined. When doing that with Abraham, it is obvious that though he was not perfect, he was following God.

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would the repeat of the mistake show that Abraham has actually not progressed after everything that has happened since Gen 12? –  stevenl Sep 30 '11 at 7:11
"Every instance is an opportunity to showcase God's faithfulness, mercy, and grace - even when his chosen ones fail Him." - I suppose we could say that it highlights the one-sidedness of the covenant promises that God made to Abraham, since it looks like God is really the only one investing into this relationship. I think it makes it even more shocking that this incident happens immediately after God makes his promises and after God's display of power at Sodom and Gomorrah. –  stevenl Sep 30 '11 at 7:15
@warren you can add Job in the list when he came to doubt God's justice during his trial. anyway, these men of faith remainds me that God is still faithful. –  OnesimusUnbound Jan 9 '12 at 17:17
@OnesimusUnbound - and I'm sure countless others, but thanks for that reminder! –  warren Jan 9 '12 at 18:36

Um... Abraham didn't lie. The word "sister" can also mean "kinswoman", and Sarah was, in fact, a kinswoman to Abraham (see Gen. 20:12) (this is an example of bearing false witness by telling the truth).

Now, why did he allow them to be deceived? Why didn't he say things outright? In addition to the fact that he was a human being flawed and struggling with sin, it was also the time of Sodom and Gomorrah (chapter 19 is right between the covenant of 17 and the repeat problem in 20). He could have rightly assumed that by wandering into an enemy camp he was signing his own death warrant. While we might enjoy condemning him for these failures in faith, we can't exactly say that we would have done better.

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