Genesis 12 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Call of Abram
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” 20 And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.
God had led Abram to Canaan. But when a famine struck that land, Abram went to Egypt to live. There is no hint here of divine guidance. What we sense is Abram’s fear and doubt as the drought in Canaan grew severe.
We need to remember that difficulties do not release us from obedience. Sometimes God wants us to remain where we are and trust Him through the dry times in our lives. We have the scripture to provide as guidance from God and help us to examine the circumstances we are facing in order for us to know His will.
Abram had faith. Yet like all of us, Abram too has weaknesses. On the border of Egypt, Abram asked Sarai to pass herself off as his sister. Fear motivated Abram to lie and, even more awful, to put his wife Sarai at risk. God delivered Abram in spite of these actions. And from Scripture’s honest portrayal of Abram’s weakness, we learn several important lessons.
- Even those with great faith can fail. Let’s not be shocked at our own or at others’ weaknesses.
- Personal failures affect others. What we do and what we are always has its impact on those around us.
- Only God can redeem our failures. Never let guilt or shame turn you away from God. He is the only One who can help.
- God does not abandon us when our weaknesses betray us. God can and will intervene for us when we turn to Him.
Recall a time when you took matters into your own hands instead of trusting in God’s faithfulness. What have you learned from Abram’s experiences in this chapter on your heaven-bound journey?
Pray: Lord, as I keep my heart fixed on you and your promises to me, help me trust in your mercy and faithfulness. Let your overflowing grace enable me to obey and help me gladly obey your guidance all the way.