6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Today we will talk about lying. Our goal is to go beyond the obvious instruction that we should not lie. Our goal is to learn what our lies teach us about the condition of our hearts.

Sermon Notes May 20, 2012 FBCam

“What Lies Beneath a Lie?”

Genesis 20:1-18

One of the many pieces of advice we received before our wedding was to save the top tier of your wedding cake and eat and eat it on your first anniversary. We had a tiny little freezer. For one full year, this box of wedding cake sat in our freezer, denying us room to freeze anything else. We would often want to buy some ice cream, or freeze leftovers, but alas, there was no room due to the precious wedding topper.

Finally, the moment of celebration came. We took out the cake, opened the box, and cut into the beautiful cake, only to discover that the top tier was just a decoration - a round cut-out of cardboard decorated with icing! It was beautiful on the outside, but underneath, it was just cardboard!

Our lives are like that. When things are going well, when our lives are tidy and neat, we can cover up the unsavory things that rest in the depth of our soul. But when troubles come, when the unexpected or unwelcome crowd into our lives, the icing is removed and we see what really lies beneath. Or truthfulness under difficult or trying circumstances reveals what is truly at the heart of our CHARACTER.

Genesis 20 contains the story of Abraham’s second lie concerning his wife. Today we will talk about lying. Our goal is to go beyond the obvious instruction that we should not lie. Our goal is to learn what our lies teach us about the condition of our hearts.

Let’s begin with a comparison of the lie that Abraham uses first with Egypt’s Pharoan in Genesis 12, and then again with King Abimelech in Geneis 20.

After living in Canaan for a short time, Abraham seeks refuge from a famine by going to Egypt. Fearful that Pharoah would kill Abraham to take possession of Sarah, he tells her to claim to Pharoah that she is Abraham’s sister. The story is found in Genesis 12:11-20. At this time, Sarah was 65 years old. The lie was discovered when Pharoah's household become ill. (Gen 12:17-19). Abraham, protected by the Lord, left Egypt with great wealth in spite of his lie (12:16).

In Genesis 20:1-18, Abraham leaves the area of Mamre and travels south into Philistine country. Again, Abraham fears Abimelech, king or Gerar, will desire Sarah and Abraham tells the lie himself that Sarah is his sister. Abimelech takes Sarah into his house with the intention of making her his wife. But God spares Sarah (and Abraham too), and reveals the truth to Abimelech in a dream (Gen 20:3). Once again, God’s plan to give Abraham and Sarah a son is protected, in spite of Abraham’s faithless action.

Under pressure, Abraham lies. It is important that we note the type of lie is what we might often call “bending the truth.” Technically, Sarah was the half sister of Abraham, being the daughter of his father, but not his mother (Genesis 20:12). But like all other half-truths, it is deception and a lie. It reveals that at this late point in Abraham’s life (25 years after he lied to Pharoah), Abraham is still fearful - still doubting that God was capable to perform what he had promised.

Abraham’s lie is one of THREE TYPES of LIES that we tell. The first type are the Lies we Tell to Others.

Of course, the most obvious lie is the outright, hand caught in the cookie jar, bold faced lie. Like Sarah lied when she doubted the promise of a child. “Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”” (Genesis 18:15). But most of the time, we are far too sophisticated (and scared) to venture out on that limb. Our more common surrender to temptation is to practice deceit, like Abraham and Sarah.

This is the sin for which God supernaturally ended the lives of Ananias and Syphira in Acts 5:1-4. They misrepresented the truth by selling their property, keeping some of the money but acting as if they gave the full amount for the needs of the church. God judged them for lying. A half truth is the same as a full lie.

SATAN is a deceiver. He deceived Eve in the Garden. His words were “Did God really say...” His deceptive ways continue to this day, and in Rev. 12:9 he is described as “the deceiver of the whole world.”

Our flesh follows Satan’s pattern. Imagine the age old question between a mother and her child. “Did you clean your room?” The child answers “yes.” To the child, she made her bed but did not straighten her closet or clean off her desk. She told a partial truth, but she knew full well what mom was asking. This is a form of deceit and it is a lie.

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