Abram Avoids a Famine
January 9 - Nº 9 Genesis 12:10-20
Fierce Canaanite warriors were not the only threat Abram faced when he entered the land that God had promised him. Soon after he arrived with his family (including his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and many servants) and everything they owned (including flocks, herds, and tents), there was a severe famine! Abram discovered that the closest place to find any food was hundreds of miles away in Egypt. Instead of waiting for God to provide for them, he decided to pack up and move until the famine was over. But there was a problem. Abram’s wife Sarai was very beautiful—so beautiful that Abram realized the Egyptian officials might demand that she become one of Pharaoh’s wives. Then when they found out that she was already married, they would probably kill him. That way no one could accuse Pharaoh of stealing someone else’s wife. Abram came up with a plan. He and Sarai would tell the Egyptians that she was his sister. This was partially true since she was his half-sister. The deceitful part was that she was also his wife (see Genesis 20:12). Another tricky part of this plan included the fact that Abram, as her brother and guardian, would receive a bride price (a payment) from the Pharaoh. He would basically be selling his own wife! Instead of being completely honest and trusting God to take care of them, Abram and Sarai plotted to deceive and defraud the Egyptians. Things turned out just as Abram had predicted. Sarai was taken to Pharaoh, and she became one of his many wives. In exchange, Abram was given a lot of livestock and servants. Abram was now very wealthy, but God was not very happy. And soon Pharaoh and everyone in his household became very sick. Pharaoh did some investigating and realized that the illnesses coincided precisely with the time that Sarai had come to live with him. He figured out that Abram’s God was punishing him for some reason. He called Abram in for questioning. “What have you done to me?” he angrily demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?” Pharaoh gave Sarai back to Abram and told him to leave Egypt immediately. He didn’t want to anger Abram’s God any further. So, instead of punishing the couple, he had them escorted out of Egypt with everything they owned. Abram was still learning to trust God on his journey of faith. Although he chose to believe God’s promises concerning his future (see #8 – January 8), he found it hard to trust Him with his daily needs. Abram had a long way to go before he could be known as a great man of faith. By the way, the extra possessions he picked up in Egypt caused Abram a lot of grief in the long run (see #12 – January 12).
Do you sometimes take things into your own hands because you think you are helping God out? What does that tell you about your relationship with Him? Do you sometimes find yourself trying to figure out ways to get around God’s rules? Remember, your shortcuts will only make the journey more difficult.