Today’s Reading: Genesis 25-27
Today’s Reflection: Genesis 26:6-7
6) So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7) When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance.
As Isaac settled in a foreign land to escape a famine he worried that the Philistines, a pagan people, might kill him to take his beautiful wife Rebekah. So he asked her to lie about her identity for his sake. After a time Abimelech, king of the Philistines, caught Isaac and Rebekah in an intimate moment and realized the truth. He confronted Isaac, worried that one of his people might have taken Rebekah and brought guilt upon them. Isaac confessed the truth and his fear for his safety. As a result Abimelech issued a decree that none of the Philistines were to touch Isaac or his wife Rebekah.
Does this story sound familiar?
It should, because Isaac’s father Abraham did the same thing. Not once, but twice. First in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20), then again in Gerar with the very same King Abimelech (Genesis 20). Abraham made several errors in these situations: trying to protect himself and the future of Israel with the sin of lying rather than relying on God’s providence; assuming other peoples would neither recognize nor respect the true God; failing to defend the honour and dignity of his wife by leaving her open to the possibility of being taken by another man, and, of course, repeating these mistakes a second time even after God had proven He was in control the first time around.
But given Isaac’s repeat of his father’s sin, perhaps Abraham’s greatest error concerning this matter was failing to share what he had learned with his son. Maybe Abraham was embarrassed at making the same mistake, not just once but twice. Maybe he feared his son’s reaction at exposing his mother to the advances of other men. But if Abraham had shared his experience perhaps he could have prevented Isaac from repeating his mistake.
Confession is an essential part of our relationship with God and with each other. By being honest about our mistakes we open the doors of forgiveness to heal and restore relationships. Confession also has practical value. While no one should feel pressure to share the details of every sin with everyone, there are times and places where it is appropriate to share these experiences. In this way, confessing our sins to others can help those struggling with similar issues, or even help people avoid those mistakes altogether.
James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.