Sharing Our Faith Together

No one’s Perfect

by Rev Jacky Quarmby 21 January 2022

Reading:  Genesis 12: 10 – 20

Abram, his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot had settled in the land of Canaan, in a region just west of the Dead Sea.  And everything was fine until there was a famine in the land and the family were forced to move again - this time to Egypt.

But as they were drawing close to Egypt, Abram fearing for his own life, told Sarai to pretend that she was his sister, rather than his wife.  As a result, Sarai was taken into the Pharaoh’s palace and became part of his harem.  Abram did quite well out of it, as Pharaoh was so pleased with his latest acquisition, that he gave Abram lots of cattle and donkeys and servants.  But God was not impressed.  If Abram was not to protect his wife’s honour, then God would have to do it instead and so the Pharaoh’s household all started going down with dreadful diseases.  To cut a long story short, Pharaoh, realising what had happened, gave Sarai back to Abram and sent them away, with all their cattle, livestock and servants.

One minute, Abram is a man of great courage and faith - a man who left everything to obey the word of God.  The next he is an appalling coward who gave his wife to another man, to preserve his own skin.

One of the things I love about the Bible is that it’s so earthy and honest.  This is Abram, a great hero.  Surely the people who wrote down his story could have edited this bit out and pretended it never happened.  But no, the Bible tells it how it is.  Abram is not perfect.  He is human and capable of behaving as badly as the next person and here he does.  

Paul reminds us in Romans 3: 23 that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.  No one is perfect.  We all have our faults and our failings.   But being weak and making mistakes doesn’t mean that a person isn’t capable of greatness in some areas of their lives.  

Abram is held up as an example to the followers of three major world faiths, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, not because of the way he treated his wife (which was appalling by today’s standards) but because throughout his life he demonstrated a remarkable faithfulness and obedience to God.  And it’s that faithfulness that we as Christians are urged to emulate in our own lives.   

So as we consider this rather unedifying story from the life of Abram, we have to acknowledge that no one is perfect, except for Jesus. But we can still admire a person for the things they do well and we can still aim to follow their example in the areas of life in which they really shine.

Let us pray,
Loving God,
We thank you for those people 
Who are important to us in our lives,
People we admire and look up to.
Help us to accept them as they are
To learn from their greatness
And to be forgiving of their weakness.
For we ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Song:  The God of Abraham Praise

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