Genesis 18 – The Lie

My fifth grade English teacher, Mrs. Majors, was collecting homework one day. She always collected the papers alphabetically so, with a last name beginning with Z, I had plenty of time to sweat. I hadn’t done my homework. I watched her praise the kids who put their papers on her desk, and yell at and lecture the few who didn’t.

So when she finally got to me, I said, “It’s in my locker.”

“Ok,” she said. “Class, you may sit in your seats and talk. Connie and I are going to go look for her homework.”

Mrs. Majors told me to get the trash can. She took me into the hall while I heard my classmates chatting and laughing and enjoying some free time. Then she stood behind me while I pulled every book, every piece of paper, every pencil out of that locker.

A few times I’d look at her with what I’m sure was a helpless look, only to hear her firmly say “Keep going. It must be there if you said it’s there.”

I kept “looking.” I threw away things  I didn’t need, straightened out the things I needed, knowing full well I wasn’t going to find that homework.

She knew that, too.

Sarah was a barren old woman. Her hopes for having a child had been dashed every month for decades. I can understand the sadness, the stress, and disappointment she must have lived with all those years.

In chapter 18 of Genesis she was probably post-menopausal, well past child-bearing years. So when she overheard Abraham’s conversation about her having a child, she laughed. Was it a belly laugh or a snicker, did the thought tickle her or was there bitterness in her laugh? We don’t know.

But when the Lord asked Abraham why Sarah laughed, did she think God couldn’t do what He said, Sarah lied:

“I didn’t laugh.”

The Lord replied. “Oh, yes you did.”

Too often our first response to being “caught” is to lie. I wasn’t speeding, officer. The check is in the mail. My homework is in my locker. But who are we kidding?

I am reminded that God is not fooled. If I hear a sermon that convicts me, I might promise to change, or to do that thing God is calling me to do, knowing full well I probably won’t. If I am talking to Christian friends, I might say something like, “I never drink too much” or “I usually read my Bible every day” or “I’ll pray about that with you” or “I don’t look at porn” or “I would never…” and all the time, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know it’s not true.

Hear what God said to Sarah and know that you aren’t fooling Him a bit. Don’t try to lie to Him. It will never work. He knows.

And He loves you. He created us and understands our imperfections. He died to forgive that sin, that lie. Be quick to ask His forgiveness instead of wasting time denying it.

You might not have to miss recess.

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