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Gen. 12:10-20 - Sidetracked - Part 2
Last week we talked about when our faith fails. This week we we continue following Abram and look at imagined problems.
Gen. 12:11-13 - “As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
Imagination is a funny thing! It can be a great thing when it comes to art, inventions, and vision work, yet more often than not it usually the background for seeds of doubt and really bad decisions.After making the decision to go to Egypt, Abram had 200 miles of walking and thinking time, and had his mind full of potential problems that he might come up against when they got there. Maybe even in the back of his mind may have been the concern that he was moving away from the area where God had promised to bless him.
We have probably all heard the Christianeze phrase: “If you feel far away from God, guess who moved?” God is loving and merciful and will protect us “in spite” of bad choices, but during the acting out of those choices our self-doubt will grow by leaps and bounds. And more times than not, rather than going to God in prayer, We start with the self-talk and thinking of all the possibilities of a situation and how it could go, then the worry and fear rolls in and we start basing our rational and decisions on that stuff.
Abram was obviously experiencing that very problem - and it all begins in our minds:
My wife is beautiful: True. The Egyptians are not known for their morality: True. Pharaoh has the power to kill me and take my wife for his harem: True. Therefore, I must do something to protect...me: not true Not necessary. Very self-centered! The only solution is for Sarah to tell a “white-lie”... to protect me: Bad decision.
And after he made this “natural” choice, immediately God’s whole promise was placed in jeopardy. Not only was Abram willing to give up - at least temporarily - his claim to the Promise, but he also placed at risk the promised descendants who would occupy the land. He did this by making his wife, Sarah, pretend that she was his sister. Again, it seemed the natural thing to do. What could possibly go wrong? Besides, it was not completely untrue, because Sarah was his half-sister (Gen. 20:12).
But, Abram’s logic, natural as it was, was flawed, His “Natural” logic was driven by his fears and not by faith in the living God. OUR idolatries rear their ugly heads whenever our backs are up against the wall.
What was driving Abram when he went down to Egypt instead of staying in the land of Promise? What was driving him when he lied about Sarah’s true identity? I believe It was the fear of danger to himself and his family if he obeyed God’s call to stay in the Land of Promise and to live as a person of truth.
At that moment Abram loved his safety and security more than he loved God, and so he sinned. He had forgotten that the God he served was greater than the problems in which he found himself and that God could keep him safe and secure in the midst of many dangers. The man that has left Ur by faith was now living his life in fear and unbelief. The famine exposed his heart.
So, what is our logic? What is the Egypt to which we find ourselves repeatedly running to? What do our patterns of sin in the midst of life’s difficulties expose about our deep heart loyalties? What do we fear? And how does this fear lead us into sin? Our response to the wilderness exposes the idols that have powerful grips on our hearts.
And just like Abram had predicted, the agents of Pharaoh saw how beautiful Sarah was and snagged her up for the royal harem. And because Sarah obeyed her husband and told the half-truth that she was just his sister, Pharaoh “treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.” (Vs. 16).
The self-centered plan Abram had seemed to be working out pretty well!
Then God stepped in: Gen. 12:17-20 - “But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 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!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.”
Where Abram failed to protect his wife, the Lord overwhelmingly succeeded in doing so. Thanks be to God that His plans are not so easily thwarted. The God who called the universe into existence at His very words was not to be thwarted by the mistakes of His human helpers.
Circumstances, folly, and even sin would not stand in the way of God’s purpose to make Abram a great blessing. What a comforting thought that should be to all of us!!
How often do we start out with good motives, yet quickly get sidetracked by our idolatrous fears. We botch opportunities to share our faith because of the fear of man. We compromise our holy lifestyle, under pressure to conform and be like others. We make utter destruction of our lives, to the point where we think there can be no possible return to God’s favor after what we’ve done. Yet above and beyond it all, God’s purpose stands secure!
Through his repeated failure, Abram would finally learn that God is able to fulfill his promise on His own, without Abram’s help.
Join us next week as we look at some principles we can learn from this chapter.
Like him, we find ourselves struggling with the temptation to abandon the promises in favor of the seemingly abundant provisions of Egypt.
The solution is to cling to the promises of God and to the God of the promises.
We need to look to the RISEN Christ who guarantees fulfillment of the promises.
Follow after Him, remembering that our lives are patterned after His: first suffering, then glory!
John 16:33 - “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Remember, as the people of God’s blessing, whatever hardship or trial we must go through, we can KNOW that it is indeed well with our souls.
In the meantime, we can say with great joy, “The Lord is Risen. He is Risen indeed!!”
So, let’s remember and proclaim what He has done for us by partaking in Communion together.