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Disobedience Does Not Pay

Ill-gotten gains do not profit.
–Proverbs 10:2

Abraham was afraid of what Pharaoh might do to him because of his wife, Sarah. So he led the Egyptians to believe that Sarah was not his wife in order to keep himself alive. Look at Genesis 12:14-15: “When Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.” Abraham told a half lie, and how did Pharaoh respond? “He treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels” (v. 16). Pharaoh showered Abraham with all kinds of wealth in order to gain Sarah. And Abraham began to think, “Who says disobedience does not pay? It certainly pays for me.”

If you have been disobedient to God for a long time, you may have been surprised to find that disobedience to God has not been nearly as painful as you thought it would be. In fact, it is kind of fun. You are enjoying some pleasure, prosperity, or power. And you wonder, “What is going on here?”

The truth is, whatever you are experiencing right now is only temporary. Proverbs says very clearly, “Ill-gotten gains do not profit” (10:2).

Abraham’s life is an illustration of that truth. Yes, after Abraham’s disobedience, his net worth went up tenfold. This is where he became mega wealthy. But I want you to think about what all this wealth he received from Pharaoh ended up doing to Abraham. It was because of this wealth that he would eventually get into conflict with his nephew Lot. But not only that, part of the wealth that Abraham received was in the form of servants, including a young woman named Hagar. Years later, a sexual liaison with Hagar produced a son, Ishmael. He became the father of the Arab nations, while Abraham’s other son, Isaac, was the forerunner of Israel. And God prophesied that there would be conflict between the descendants of the two brothers. Abraham’s disobedience had reverberations that are still being felt today.

But most tragically for Abraham, as he started counting all the money and the camels and the oxen and the servants he has received, there was one thing obviously missing: his wife, Sarah, was no longer there. Instead of being in Abraham’s bed, she was now in Pharaoh’s harem. Abraham’s disobedience may have brought him wealth, but ultimately it was all empty.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When The Godly Go South” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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