The Lord Chooses Abram
1 The Lord said to Abram:
Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you. 2I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you.
4-5Abram was 75 years old when the Lord told him to leave the city of Haran. He obeyed and left with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and slaves they had acquired while in Haran.
When they came to the land of Canaan, 6Abram went as far as the sacred tree of Moreh in a place called Shechem. The Canaanites were still living in the land at that time, 7 but the Lord appeared to Abram and promised, “I will give this land to your family forever.” Abram then built an altar there for the Lord.
8Abram traveled to the hill country east of Bethel and camped between Bethel and Ai, where he built another altar and worshiped the Lord. 9Later, Abram started out toward the Southern Desert.
Abram in Egypt
10-11The crops failed, and there was no food anywhere in Canaan. So Abram and his wife Sarai went to live in Egypt for a while. But just before they got there, Abram said, “Sarai, you are really beautiful! 12When the Egyptians see you, they will murder me because I am your husband. But they won't kill you. 13 Please save my life by saying you are my sister.”
14As soon as Abram and Sarai arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how beautiful she was. 15The king's officials told him about her, and she was taken to his house. 16The king was good to Abram because of Sarai, and Abram was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels.
17Because of Sarai, the Lord struck the king and everyone in his palace with terrible diseases. 18Finally, the king sent for Abram and said to him, “What have you done to me? Why didn't you tell me Sarai was your wife? 19Why did you make me believe she was your sister? Now I've married her. Take her and go! She's your wife.”
20So the king told his men to let Abram and Sarai take their possessions and leave.
God gave Abram two key promises: nationhood and his blessing. All Abram had to do was go claim his land.
But when famine engulfed the land, desperation led Abram to flee for Egypt and its food. And then, afraid that Pharoah would kill him for his beautiful wife, he overlooked God’s promise to curse those who curse him, and told Sarai to say she is his sister.
Abram did not:
- consult God,
- trust God to provide food,
- trust God for his life,
- protect the woman through whom he would become a great nation. (1)
Many people believe:
- “God helps those who help themselves.”
- “Success must be earned by hard work.”
- “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!”
That’s apparently what Abram thought, so he tried solving the problem himself. We’ll never know how God would have provided for Abram had he stayed in the land, but we do know God remained committed to his promises by blessing Abram with gifts from Pharoah, rescuing Sarai from the harem, and arranging for Abram’s return to the promised land.
God made a promise to you and me too in John 3:16: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” Like Abram, we just have to believe God. Have you? Will you? And when the inevitable times of doubt come, will you try to figure things out yourself or will you give God a chance to deliver on his promises?
(1) The preceding is based on Genesis: A Commentary by Bruce K. Waltke, Zondervan 2001.
Dear God of steadfast love, whose lovingkindess never ceases and whose compassion never fails, build my faith in your promises so that I will live confidently in your love and care as the person you made me to be, in the name of Jesus my Saviour.