Imagine all of the grocery stores in your town have closed.
(No, it’s not the zombie apocalypse. Just imagine with me.)
You have run out of food. You and your husband Abe know about a grocery store a few towns over that is still open. You both hop in your Nissan with the camel interior to begin a trip that will nearly wreck your marriage.
Abe turns to you as he drives, “You are the prettiest woman I know.”
He continues, “I’m afraid that the people at this new grocery store will want to kill me so that they can have your beauty for themselves.”
You shoot him an incredulous look.
Abe calmly suggests, “Let’s pretend we are brother and sister instead of husband and wife while we are at this new grocery store. This will prevent the people at the grocery store from killing me so they can marry you.”
You think this over. You don’t want your husband to be killed, but you feel like this is an extreme precaution.
But it’s too late to have a discussion. Abe is pulling the Nissan with the camel interior neatly in between the yellow lines of the parking lot.
You head inside, trying not too look like a wife with your posture, though you are not sure wife-posture is a thing. Abe slips his wedding band into his pocket, and you do the same with your band and engagement ring.
Abe grabs a cart, and you walk ahead of him towards the produce. You’ve been craving corn on the cob. As you approach the neatly stacked ears wrapped in their green shucks you see a sign proclaiming 5 for two dollars!
Immersed in selecting corn cobs for your plastic baggy, you don’t notice the store manager approaching you and your husband…er….brother.
Abe leans on the cart as he confidently announces that you are brother and sister.
You are still busying yourself with the corn cobs.
“How wonderful,” proclaims the manager. “This woman is very beautiful. I would like to marry her.”
The manager takes you by the arm, corn cobs in tow, and leads you toward the cash registers. Abe gives you a weak smile.
“In fact, one of my cashiers is ordained – part time work you know. Let’s marry right away! My, you are beautiful! Lots of free food for your brother!” the manager booms.
Beginning to be alarmed, you drop the half-filled bag of corn cobs. You notice that Abe is slowly following you and the manager with the cart. Workers peek out from behind the shelves at the commotion your impending marriage is causing.
Why are we telling this lie about our marriage? you wonder. Why aren’t we trusting God to provide for us?
Suddenly, God sends a plague on all of the store workers and they get a nasty disease. It looks like a form of prehistoric chicken pocks!
God also puts a thought bubble in the store manager’s head. It looks like the card board thought bubbles Molly used to communicate with Loonette on that old Canadian television show for kids with the biigg comfy couch!
The manager looks at Abe so that Abe can read the thought bubble too.
Abe sighs, “It’s true. ”
God just saved your marriage even though you screwed up.
If you didn’t notice, this is a modernized story of Genesis 12:10-17.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister,so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
I taught this story tonight to some kids, emphasizing how important it is to tell the truth. We made collage posters that turned into sculptures and read this story in the Action Bible. One kid protested, “But Abram was going to die! Of course he should lie!”
I left the lesson with a new understanding of God’s grace and mercy and care for our marriages. It is more important (and useful) to trust God with our situations than to try and arrange outcomes ourselves.
This was a very extreme example, but it shows that God is for your marriage no matter what. Find hope in verse 17, “But the Lord…”
Let God be the center of your marriage!
….And what a weird Bible story!
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