Abram Avoids A Famine
Nº 7 - January 7
Fierce Canaanite warriors were not the only threat Abram faced when he entered the land God had promised him. Soon after he arrived with his family (including his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and many servants) as well as everything they owned (including flocks, herds and tents), there was a severe famine. The closest place Abram could 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.
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. If they realized she was already married to Abram, they would probably kill him. That way Pharaoh could not be accused of stealing someone else’s wife.
So 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 false part was that she really was his wife, too (see Genesis 20:12). Another tricky part of this plan included the fact that Abram, as her guardian, would receive a bride price (a payment) from the Pharaoh. He was basically selling his 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 as Abram predicted. Sarai was taken to Pharaoh, and she became one of his many wives. Abraham was given a lot of livestock and servants in exchange.
God was not happy. He sent diseases that made Pharaoh and everyone in his household very sick. Pharaoh did some investigating and realized that the illnesses were linked to the time when Sarai had come to live with him. Somehow he knew that Abram’s God was punishing him, so he called Abram in for questioning. “What have you done to me?” he wanted to know. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?”
Pharaoh gave Sarai back to Abram and told him to leave Egypt and take everything with him. He didn’t want to punish Abram himself, or keep anything of Abram’s that might make Abram’s God even angrier with him, so he had Abram and Sarai escorted out of Egypt with everything they owned.
Abram was still learning to trust God on his journey of faith. Although he was able to believe God’s promises about the future, he found it hard to trust Him with his everyday 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 ended up costing Abram a huge amount of grief in the long run (see #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 think it’s exciting to figure out ways to get around God’s rules? Remember, your shortcuts will only make the journey harder.