"And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved." (Gen. 20:16)
On two recorded occasions, Abraham chose to hide the fact that Sarah was his wife. Both times, he put her in a compromising position for fear of his own life. In this chapter, the innocent victim of his hoax was Abimelech, king of Gerar, who, as it turned out, was actually the one whose life was in jeopardy (v.3). These lapses in Abraham's overall exemplary life are unfortunate. But I want us to look briefly at Sarah's role; for, after all, she was reproved.
On the surface, it would seem that Sarah, too, was a victim, since she was simply following orders. But it's obvious, the whole deception, from beginning to end, was wrong. I would contend, when it comes to sin, you do not follow orders. Ask Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; ask Peter and John in Acts four. Each of these was compelled (unsuccessfully) by those in authority over them to go against God.
The Bible teaches, especially in I Timothy 2, that every woman should have a man in a place of leadership in her life. If she is married, her husband is her head; if she is single, she should look to her father and/or a godly elder in the church to give her guidance.
Notwithstanding this vital truth, Sarah--who appeared to be simply following orders--was still reproved. Could I offer three workable principles that I think would help to reconcile these two (seemingly) opposing arguments? I've been suggesting them to women for many years now.
1. Don't use God as an excuse to disobey your husband.
2. Don't use your husband as an excuse to sin against God.
3. Know the difference!