Summary: No one is perfect. Even the greatest of Biblical characters are sinners. When Abraham faced the first crisis since deciding to walk with God, he defaulted to his old ways of falsehood rather than walking by faith.
A. The story is told of a young boy who came home from practice all decked out in his baseball outfit.
1. Cheerfully, his mom asked him, “How did Little League go?”
2. The little boy growled, “Terrible! I struck out three times!”
3. Trying to console her son, his mom said, “That’s okay, it’s all part of the game, honey.”
4. With exasperation the little boy said, “Mom, it’s T-Ball!”
B. Indeed, failure is a part of life – even in T-Ball!
1. All of us experience failure. All of us make mistakes. And all of us commit sin.
2. Sometimes even the faithful fail.
a. The good and the godly are imperfect. The strong can become weak. Heroes can falter.
3. There are at least two good reasons we should avoid putting people on a pedestal.
a. First, we set ourselves up for disillusionment because we will inevitably see flaws in our heroes at some point.
b. Second, pedestals come with expectations that no mere human can meet and we don’t do the people we admire any favors by placing unrealistic burdens on their shoulders.
4. So, no one should be put on a pedestal, whether they are the people we admire in our lives today or the people we admire in Scripture.
a. Any person, other than Jesus, whom we think is perfect, is someone we don’t know completely, because there is no way they are perfect!
5. Scripture tells the truth about our biblical heroes and all of them had their moments of mistakes, failures and sins.
a. Noah had that drunken episode.
b. Moses had that angry episode.
c. David had that adulterous and murderous episode.
d. Peter had that cowardly, denial episode.
e. And the list could go on.
C. And since we are studying the life of Abraham, can you guess what we will discover about him?
1. Was he perfect? Absolutely not. Did he make mistakes and commit sins? Yes he did.
2. For the most part, what we looked at last week about Abraham’s first steps of faith portray him as a hero.
3. While it is true that complete obedience came gradually for him, we need to tip our hat to him.
4. Having heard God’s call, Abraham picked up and left, abandoning his lifelong home, leaving friends and most of his family.
5. That was amazing enough by itself, but then add to it the fact that he did it not knowing where he was going.
6. On top of that, add to it the fact that he was a man in his mid-seventies!
7. How many older adults like change? Most of us prefer the familiar over the unfamiliar, especially as we age!
8. So in many ways, Abraham’s first steps of faith are nothing short of admirable and praiseworthy.
I. The Story
A. This is where we pick up and continue our story today in Genesis 12.
1. Verse 10 says: 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.
2. Here we watch Abraham face his first challenge when a severe famine swept the area.
3. The land of Canaan where Abraham was living had a moderate climate much like parts of California.
a. In good years, when there was rain, the land produced an abundant harvest, but in drought years, the land could become parched and dry, and the grass would wither.
b. For those, like Abraham, whose livelihood depended on pasturing flocks, the dry years were difficult.
c. When food became scarce in Canaan, Abraham became fearful, and even though God had called him to the land of Canaan, he felt the need to leave and head to Egypt.
B. The Bible doesn’t tell us whether Abraham asked God’s permission to go to Egypt, but based on how things played out in Egypt, it does not appear that Abraham was following God by faith.
1. Until the famine struck, we see Abraham talking to God and building altars to memorialize his relationship with the Almighty.
2. But once the famine became severe, we don’t see him making any prayers or altars.
3. Rather than seeking God’s lead, Abraham made a beeline for where the caravan merchants said he could find food in abundance.
C. For Abraham, Canaan and Egypt were two real places in a real world, but for us these two places have theological and symbolic implications.
1. Biblical scholar, F.B. Meyer writes: “In the figurative language of Scripture, Egypt stands for an alliance with the world…Abraham acted simply on his own judgment. He looked at his difficulties and became paralyzed by fear. He grasped at the first means of deliverance that suggested itself, much as a drowning man will catch at a straw.”