The Dilemma of Abraham: Choices, choices

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1) Having a beautiful wife: Twice, Abraham asked Sarah to pose as his sister – once to Pharaoh in Egypt (Gen 12) and another to King Abimelech (Gen 20). He lied because he was afraid he might be killed or harmed for having a beautiful wife. God protected Sarah and Abraham from harm. He kept Pharaoh and Abimelech from doing anything to harm Sarah.

2) Having a mistress and a son by the mistress: Abram listened to his wife to have a son with her maid, Hagar. Sarai mistreated Hagar when she became pregnant (Gen. 16:6). And after Sarah had her own son, she told Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Abraham was caught between granting Sarah’s wish and worrying about Ishmael (Gen. 21).

But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and your slave woman; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. And of the son of the slave woman I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.”

3) Having to sacrifice his only beloved son: Ultimate test of Abraham is the famous Bible story we often hear. God called him to sacrifice Isaac to test him (Gen. 22). God provided a lamb in place of Isaac for Abraham to offer as sacrifice.

In all instances, God was gracious. Abraham was not harmed. Hagar and Ishmael were provided for. Isaac was not killed.
Through all these experiences, Abraham made choices. Whether good or bad, his choices were part of his sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which God makes his children holy. It is not a one-time destination but a step-by-step journey. Abraham had his ups and downs. Sometimes he chose well, other times he did poorly. His sanctification was not compromised by his poor choices because God sanctified him by His character – who He is and what He does.

God is gracious and merciful. In His grace, He gives us what we do not deserve. In His mercy, He withdraws from us what we deserve – punishment for our sins (our poor choices).

God is ever faithful to his promise. He promised to make Abraham a blessing to the nations (Gen. 12:2-3) by making him a father of a multitude of nations (Gen. 17:1-5).

“I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
I will make My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,
And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall you be named Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.


As God promised, Abraham became a father of nations through his son, Isaac – born to him when he was 100. Abraham’s dilemma were part of his sanctification journey to experience God’s faithfulness. God’s grace enabled Abraham to obey His call to sacrifice Isaac. His mercy let Isaac live to fulfill His promise to Abraham.

In life, we faced dilemma. A dilemma is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which seems ideal or good. Everyday we make choices – to forgive or not to forgive; to be angry or be patient; to give or not to give; to worry or not to worry. God did not make us robots. We are free to choose. This freedom is a gift. How to choose wisely requires God’s wisdom and grace.
Question: Am I choosing rightly with God’s wisdom? Am I choosing wisely in God’s grace?

The gift of choice is by the grace and mercy of God.

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