Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse
Last week we saw how the Lord sent Abram on a journey to the promised land. A land that would birth a nation that would eventually birth a Savior for the world. It was an amazing journey that changed Abram’s life forever. It was a journey of:
But it wouldn’t be an easy journey. There would be hardships along the way as it is with
most journeys of life.
[Flying into Phoenix mission trip, flat tires, lost, cows story.]
Every journey has the potential for problems. What matters is how we handle the problems that the Lord allows into our lives. Do we keep the faith and press on in the journey that God has given us? Or do we doubt God’s ability to help us overcome the obstacles that seek to get us off track?
You see, when we doubt that God can come through for us we take matters into our own hands and make a mess of things. We’re faced with a problem that seems so insurmountable that we do whatever it takes to get around the problem – even if we have to lie, cheat, steal, manipulate or even entice. (All of which leaves our faith, and our God, behind.)
That’s exactly what Abram does when faced with his first real problem while on the road. But as we’re going to see, it wasn’t really the problem that was the problem. It was Abram’s doubting faith that was the true problem.
I. Doubt directed Abram to Egypt
[Read Genesis 12:10.]
Abram is on the outskirts of where he’s supposed to be. He travels further south, past the future site of Jerusalem, towards the southern area of the Canaan land. But there’s a severe famine in the area so he decides to go to Egypt and wait it out. He’s not going there to set up permanent residence, but just to stay there until the famine lets up in the area of the Negev.
But the Lord had already told him that He would give him this land; The land where he was. Not Egypt! The Lord said He would bless him and guide him as to where he should go. But doubt crept up in Abram as the famine sucked the life out of the land and out of Abram’s faith at the same time. So Abram avoided the problem and went to where life would be easier.
Now, could God have provided for Abram even during a famine? Could God have lifted the famine whenever He wanted to? Could God have strengthened Abram’s faith during this time of hardship? Of course He could have and much, much more. But obviously Abram trusted himself with this particular problem more than he trusted the Lord.
But when Abram doubted God and decided to put of his God-ordained journey for a couple years, this only led to more problems – which in turn led to more doubt – which in turn led Abram into a life of deception.
II. Doubt moved Abram to deception
[Read Genesis 12:11-16.]
Abram is faced with a problem as he moved into Egypt – his wife was beautiful. She was 65 years old, which was considered middle-aged at the time, (she lived to be 127 and Abram lived to be 175). But Sarai was so fine that Abram knew that when they went into the Egyptian’s territory would probably kill him and take Sarai as their wife. This was just how it was back then. This was the unwritten law of the land. Kill your enemy and take his wife for yourself. Abram knew this and was scared for his life.
But instead of trusting God to help him through the difficult circumstances, he came up with a plan. A plan of deception. He also knew that if the enemy thought Sarai was just his sister then they would let him live and maybe even purchase her marriage rites from him.
So when they get into town it happens just like he thought. The royal officials saw how beautiful Sarai was, they wanted to impress their boss, so they suggested to Pharaoh that he take Abram’s sister into his harem. And he did! And he even gave Abram all kinds of compensation for the rite to make Sarai one of his wives. The plan worked perfectly.
Well at least for a while it did. You see, the plan was based on a lie. Abram told the officials that his wife Sarai was his sister instead of telling them she was his wife. And actually, Sarai was his sister – his half-sister.
[Read Genesis 20:12-13.]
So Sarai and Abram technically were brother and sister, but they tended to leave the marriage relationship out of the public eye when the situation suited them.