ABRAHAM’S LAPSE OF FAITH
Abram was in the land, and this was the place of blessing. God never told him to leave.
But a famine was in the land, and I think one morning Abram pushed back the flap of his tent, looked out, and said,
“Sarai, it looks like everybody’s going to Egypt. There’s a famine, you know, and it’s getting worse. Maybe we ought to think about going down.”
And I suppose Sarai said, “Anything you want to do, Abram. I’m your wife and I’ll go with you.”
After a few days had gone by and Abram had talked to some of these travelers (probably coming from north of where he was living and bringing the news that the famine was getting worse and was moving south).
I imagine that he said to Sarai one evening, “I think we had better pack up and go to Egypt.” So Abram and Sarai start down to Egypt.
Notice that God had not told him to do that.
When God had appeared to him the last time, He had said, “This is it, Abram, this is the land I am going to give you. You will be a blessing, and I am going to bless you here.”
But, you see, Abram didn’t believe God. He went down into the land of Egypt. In the Bible, Egypt is a picture of the world. You will find that all the way through.
I think it is still a picture of the world.
But Abram went down to Egypt.
Genesis 12:10-20 KJV
 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
- It’s amazing how the world draws Christians today. So many of them rationalize.
- They’ll say, “You know, brother Joyce, we’re not able to come to church on Sunday night because we have to get up and go to work Monday morning.”
- Well, almost everybody has to do that.
- And it’s amazing that those same people can go to a banquet on a week night and sit through a long-winded program with lots of music and lots of talk and not worry about getting up for work the next morning.
- It’s amazing how the world draws Christians today and how they can rationalize.
- I think that if you had met Abram going down to Egypt and had said, “Wait a minute, Abram, you’re going the wrong direction—you should be staying in the land,” that Abram could have given you a very good reason.
- He might have said, “Look, my sheep are getting pretty thin and there’s not any pasture for them. Since there’s plenty of grazing land for them down in Egypt, we’re going down there.”
- And that’s where they went.
- However, immediately there is a problem, and it concerns Sarai because she is a beautiful woman.
And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
- As you probably know, over along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, ancient scrolls were found in the caves there, and they are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- At first the unbelieving scholars thought that they had found something that would disprove the Bible.
- But have you noticed how silent the higher critics have become?
- They just don’t seem to have found anything that contradicts the Bible.
- Among the scrolls was a set which couldn’t be unrolled because they were so fragile—they had been wrapped so long that they would just shatter and come to pieces.
- One name could be seen, the name Lamech, so they were called part of the book of Lamech and said to be one of the apocryphal books of the Bible.
- Boy, how incorrect that was!
- The nation Israel bought them, and in the museum the experts began to moisten and soften them until they were unrolled.
- The scholars found that they contained Genesis 12, 13, 14, and 15, not in the Bible text but rather an interpretation of it.
- In the part that deals with chapter 12, it tells about the beauty of Sarai, actually describing her features and telling how beautiful she was.
- It confirms what we read of her in the Word of God.
Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
- The same scroll gives a description of Abram’s exploration after God told him to “walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it” (Gen. 13:17).
- The scroll gives a first person account by Abram of his journey. It confirms what the Bible has said about the land’s beauty and fertility.
- The eyewitness (whether or not it was really Abram, we do not know) certainly confirmed the Bible record.
- A great many people who visit that land today can’t understand how it could be called a land of milk and honey.
- Well, in the Book of Deuteronomy we learn what caused the desolation that is seen there today.
- But it was a glorious land in Abram’s day.
- However, there were periods of famine, and Abram left the land and went down to Egypt during such a time.
- As Abram neared Egypt, he recognized that he would get into difficulty because of the beauty of his wife. So he said to Sarai,
Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
- “Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister.” That was half a lie, as we shall see. Half a lie is sometimes worse than a whole lie, and it certainly was intended to deceive.
- Abram’s fears were well founded because Pharaoh did take Sarai.
- We know from the Book of Esther that in those days there was a period of preparation for a woman to become a wife of a ruler.
- And during that period of preparation, God “plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues,” and let him know that he was not to take Sarai as his wife.
And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
- The Egyptians had taken notice of Sarai and her beauty was such that it made its way to Pharaoh
The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
- And before Abram knew it, Sarai was sitting in Pharaoh’s house
And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
- And because they thought Abram was just Sarai’s brother, they ensured he was treated well because of her.
Did you notice the irony?
Abram tells Sarai to lie so that he would be treated well because of her. He meant that he would be able to live and escape with her.
Yet in the end, Scripture records the same phrase in describing how Abram collects this wealth from the sale of his sister.
And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
- God, you see, was overruling in the lives of Abram and Sarai, but God did not appear to him while he was in the land of Egypt.
- There are seven categories of material that Abram receives, suggesting that the Lord was at work in blessing Abram despite his sin.
- And yet we’ll learn later that one of the female servants Abram receives from Pharaoh was a woman called Hagar.
- Abram’s sin in Egypt sows the seed of his own future turmoil.
- The Jewish Rabbi Rashi declared that the plague was a skin disease that made sexual contact impossible, thus protecting Sarai.
- And yet the disease didn’t affect Sarai, thus leading Pharaoh to discern that Sarai was the key
And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
- The Pharaoh seems to be a victim here in light of the fact that he knew nothing of the deception.
- He paid for his bride, But God has made promises to Abram that depend on Sarai remaining Abram’s wife.
- This led to the conversation with Abram. The Pharaoh chastises Abram for lying and causing this trouble.
- Of course the Pharaoh doesn’t say that had Abram told the truth, they would have abducted his wife and killed him. Still, that doesn’t justify Abram’s lie.
Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
- And so God acts to preserve His promise. Since God has said that those who are against Abram would be cursed, here we see that statement proving true.
- God working to defend Abram from his enemies.
- And we also notice God acts to protect Sarai as she obediently obeys and respects her husband even as he makes serious mistakes.
- He stepped into the ungodly world and had to play by their rules. Bringing one compromise after another.
And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
- And yet even though Abram was unfaithful, God remains faithful to His promises. Clearly the covenant is working and is in force.
- Clearly the covenant is unconditional, without dependence on Abram’s behavior
I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,
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