Thursday, June 15, 2017

Morality—taught and caught

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 20:1-18

“And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, ‘What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.’” Genesis 20:9

What horrible thing had Abraham done to the Philistine King Abimelech?

Lied about the state of Sarah, who was his wife and also his half-sister. He told this half-truth because of Sarah’s beauty and his fear that other men, powerful men, would want her and do away with him to get her for themselves.

He had done this previously as well, in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20).

There’s a sequel to today’s story in Genesis 26:1-11. There we see Isaac doing the exact same thing as his dad—saying Rebekah was his sister when she was really his wife, again to save his own skin. In Isaac’s case it wasn’t even half true, but a total lie.

I am struck by the generational aspect of this. Did Isaac witness Abraham do it? Probably not because it happened before his time. Perhaps his dad told him the stories of these events, glossing over the evil of them? Or maybe Isaac picked up something in his father’s general moral code that was unspoken permission to act in this way—an attitude and other actions that sacrificed honesty on the altar of expediency?

Whatever it was, I think there’s a lesson for us in this. We don’t only teach morality (what’s right and wrong) to our kids, but they also catch our morality from us. They pick it up from our attitudes and the way we act.
PRAYER: Dear Father, please help me to live in such a way that I can say to others, don’t just do as I say but also as I do. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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