Little Concessions / Big Consequences
Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us." -- Genesis 26:10; English Standard Bible
George O'Leary told a lie. He had been newly hired as the coach of Notre Dame University's football team. The university officials performed a background check. They discovered that Coach O'Leary lied about his experience and credentials. Notre Dame discovered that O'Leary did not have the master's degree he claimed to have and they discovered Mr. O'Leary had not even played college football, though he said he'd played for three years at New Hampshire. Coach O'Leary said*, "Many years ago, as a young married father, I sought to pursue my dream as a football coach. In seeking employment I prepared a resume that contained inaccuracies regarding my completion of course work for a master's degree and also my level of participation in football at my alma mater. These misstatement[s] were never stricken from my resume or biographical sketch in later years."
All this went down FIVE DAYS after he'd been hired. Ironically, O'Leary had coached at another high profile school and in the professional ranks for several years under the same lie. It finally caught up with him. His lie cost him his job, it embarrassed him and it embarrassed the reputation of the University of Notre Dame. Commenting further, Coach O'Leary said*, "Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans."
Of course, this being America, he got another coaching job like nothing had ever happened. It's not as high profile as Notre Dame, but a job coaching football.
Abimelech** was obviously a wise man and a moral one as well. He was outraged and bewildered that Isaac would lie about his relationship with Rebekah. If you will allow me a paraphrase: "Isaac, what in the world did you think you were doing? Don't you realize that your attempt at deception could have caused your wife to be unfaithful with one of our people?"
Little lies; little concessions. Rarely do we foresee how far they could go. The best thing is not to tell little lies or make little concessions.
I don't know if we can foresee what MIGHT become of little concessions. Do you think, when Coach O'Leary first sought a job in the coaching ranks, that he ever thought he would be offered the most prestigious coaching job in the entire country? I doubt it. I think he just wanted to get his foot in the door. Little did he know that he would one day work as defensive coordinator of the 1990 National Championship Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Do you think that he foresaw that as the catalyst for many other opportunities? I doubt it, but that's what happened. He probably thought about his lies often, but had gotten too far in to get out.
That's what happens.
I would imagine the same thing happened to Isaac. He probably didn't think he would be in Gerar that long. He only went there because of a famine where he lived (Genesis 26:1). While he was there Isaac got a word from the Lord to stay there (Genesis 26:3). Men asked Isaac about Rebekah; he said, "She's my sister" (Genesis 26:7).
Here is where Isaac failed and where most of us fail as well; he stopped trusting God and started looking around instead of up. God had plainly told Isaac that He would bless him (Genesis 26:3-4). Instead of holding God to His promise, Isaac feared men and made a concession, told a lie. It was just a little thing. Thank God nothing came of it, but MUCH could have gone wrong.
What is the point to all of this today? Let us endeavor to walk carefully, fearing our God in all things, scorning the opinion of men where it might cause us to gain the reproach of God. Tell no lies. Make no concessions that may cause us to sin.
Little lies, little concession MAY lead to big consequences. People may or may not ever realize our wrong. God always knows. Trust Him, even if being righteous in the moment COSTS us something.
Think about it.
*Quotes taken from Sports Illustrated's web site: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/college/news/2001/12/14/oleary_notredame/
**Abimelech -- a common name of the Philistine kings (Easton's Bible Dictionary)
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
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"And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight." (2 Samuel 6:22)