In Genesis 12 we have the story Abram. In my series Walking with God, I spoke about Genesis 12:1-9 because of the great promises made to Abram for following God by faith. After all, Abram left everything he was comfortable with to follow Yahweh to a place that was still not clarified to him when he began to literally walk. In fact, he was even able to get some people to go with him!
Genesis 12:1-9 is a great look into what it means to place all of your faith (hope, security, control, physical well-being, trust, and etc.) in an invisible God. This is a great story since Abram lived in a time of great idolatry. Yet, he heard God! He heard God in contrast to those idols who cannot speak.
In Genesis 12:10-20 Abram doesn’t do so well. In fact, all of that faith that he placed in God seems to be for a fleeting moment. In fact, this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to actual faith. A famine broke out where Abram was. Here is one of life’s circumstances that simply occurs beyond our control. However, Abram’s stomach begins to control him because he decided to move on to Egypt so that he, and those who were with him, could find food.
In contrast to the earlier part of this chapter, where I bragged on Abram’s faith, Abram was not told by God to go to Egypt. Let’s think about this for a moment. Abram left to go to the land that God would show him and for incentive God made great promises to him and those who were to come behind him. In my mind, to leave in the first place, I would have to literally trust God to take care of me and my crew. Yet, that is not what we are seeing here; at least from my vantage point.
Listen, if God was going to do all that He said He would do, then why didn’t Abram simply stay put? Abram’s earlier trust should have come across his mind. God had assumed responsibility for him. He should have stuck it out, but he didn’t. In fact, he told his wife to tell a half-truth that she was simply his sister. Abram told her that since she was beautiful, he would be treated well and spared his life because of her. Wow! Where did the trust in God go? He now seems to think that between the abilities of Pharaoh and Sarai that will be saved.
Even more troubling is that he allowed Pharaoh to take his wife to be his wife. It is good to remember that God is Holy. John Oswalt once said, “God is Holy! He is Holy for our good and our ill.” Even though Pharaoh seems innocent, God is just and afflicted he and his people. This seems to be God’s Holiness that brought ill on Pharaoh. Further more, Abram is accumulating wealth at the expense of his wife being wife of Pharaoh! So now we have innocent people being hurt since Sarai was born too soon for women’s rights to help her. Likely, she didn’t have a choice in Abram’s decision; not to mention what was happening to the Egyptians people for not fault of their own in this situation.
Remember the promises God made Abram? Since we know the story Abram, who later became Abraham, we know that God promised him and Sarai a son. Yet, later since God seemed to be taking so long in fulfilling that promise Sarai she offered to Abram her servant Hagar. So Abram impregnated Hagar and had Ishmael. Nevertheless, this was not the Promised Son. The Promised Son was to be born 14 years after Ishmael.
We have to consider how Abram’s decision to go to Egypt impacted this. Is it possible that Isaac, The Child of Promise, could have been born sooner? There is no way to know for sure, but consider that God would not want any connection possible between Pharaoh and Sarai. After all, Pharaohs generally thought of themselves as gods on earth. And for sure, I can imagine the talk among those in the camp with Abram and Sarai.
If this assessment is possible, then how much impact does a lack of faith have on God’s people? It seems that we can prolong the good that God has in store for us by not following Him by faith. In fact, it seems best to remain in the situation that brings you struggle until you hear from God. Famines that drive us to make decisions irregardless of God are meant to be a time of testing our faith. We may find that when we continually try to escape uncomfortable situations that we are demonstrating a lack of trust in God’s ability to maintain us in spite of what we face. How much sooner would those in the camp with Abram have seen God’s power if he remained where he was? And how much sooner would Abram and Sarai have received Isaac? Thoughts to ponder.