Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Genesis 12:10-20

Have you ever noticed that often those things that are your strengths can be your greatest weaknesses? I know that God has gifted me as a speaker, and I truly enjoy speaking to groups – whether to other teachers, parents, or ten-year olds! However, my “gift of gab” is also my Achilles’ heel! My mouth gets me into more trouble! I thought that I would somehow mature out of this weakness, but I now see that it is the very thing that keeps me dependent upon God alone. Before I get out of bed every morning, before my feet ever hit the ground, the first prayer of my heart that I speak is, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

That’s why I love that God’s word is so honest when looking at the failures of our Bible heroes! I can relate!!! In today’s passage we see that our strong father of faith actually falters in faith. Not long after arriving in the Promised Land, Abram ad Sarai come up against a trial – a famine. Now, you can imagine how much Sarai must have questioned Abram’s leadership at this point. She has left her comfy city of Ur and ends up in a desert land! Have you ever noticed that often after a specific call of God, you find yourself in a spiritual desert where you are tested?

What is Abram’s reaction? Does he wait on God? Nope! He heads on down to Egypt. Jon Courson, in his commentary, observes the following: Throughout Scripture, whenever people go to Egypt, they always go “down to Egypt” because Egypt is a type, or symbol of the world. Abram was doing well, but now he falls again because he didn’t remain in the land God showed him. A famine made him think he had to take matters into his own hands – always a dangerous place to be. Oh my, can’t we identify???

To make matters worse, he lies about Sarai when he gets there. Worried that the Egyptians would kill him to get Sarai, he tells her, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” (vs. 11-13)

Sarai was ten years younger than Abram, so she was probably a little over 65 years old here. Imagine that Abram considers her so beautiful! Well, apparently the Egyptians thought so, too. (verse 14). I’m thinking that in those days 65 must have been the “new 30!” ☺ When Abram says she is his sister, he was telling a half-truth (see Gen. 20:12). But a half-truth is a half-lie! Do you suppose Sarai wanted to kill him when she was taken into Pharoah’s harem? Where is our father of faith??? And look at the exchange he gets out of Pharaoh: He [Pharaoh] treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. Ye gads!

As always, others pay the consequences for our sin. Here, not only has Sarai been traded for some livestock and servants, but then Pharoah’s entire household suffers because of Abram’s lie, when the LORD inflicts them all with “serious diseases.” Now, we might want to question the fairness of God in afflicting the “innocent” Pharoah here, but don’t the innocent suffer for our sins? Not only do we affect our children and spouses, but the most innocent of all, Jesus, paid the ultimate price for our sin. However, here God graciously used the disease in Pharoah’s household to actually save Sarai from being sullied by Pharoah.

You might think Abram got off scot free since Pharaoh sent him away without any consequences and let him keep the goods. However, I cannot begin to imagine what went on between Sarai and Abram as they went on their way!! Not to mention the terrible witness Abram left with Pharoah!  And, of course, Abram learned his lesson for good, right?? We know he didn’t, for he repeats the very same mistake in Genesis 20. Before we judge him, let’s remember that strength we each have that is our own weakness. Be careful! Satan is just waiting to trip you up in that “strength.” Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) Our challenge today is to give over our weaknesses to God: For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10). LORD, guard my mouth today!!!

And what have we learned about God? He is longsuffering and gracious and compassionate! Look through Hebrews 11 and you will see that God doesn’t dredge up Abram’s failures – he remembers his victories of faith! Because of Jesus, He does the same for us! Have a great day!


1 comment:

  1. Fabulous devotion, Mom!! I'm a day behind, but so encouraged by all that is wrapped up in this part of Genesis! We could spend a long time just on this section. Thanks for being so vulnerable with us and for challenging us to to the same! XO