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Oct.29 Genesis Study

Categories: Genesis Study,News


Genesis 12:10-20

Abram went down to Egypt”

I. Intro.

III. Vs. 10-20 A journey to the dark side

I. Intro.

gen-studyThough ten times in the NT we read that Abram’s strength lie in his trust in God, it was not something that he always had or always exhibited. Faith is not a super natural inner conviction that only certain folks can muster it is the simple trust in a God who promises. These verses reveal the reason why we so often fail in this simple trust in a God who promises. Abram chooses to trust the outward circumstances above God’s word and character. He does this in spite of the fact that he had once trusted this same God of promises to take from Ur to a promised land to be blessed. But now in light of new circumstances he cannot trust God to accomplish what He promised.

III. Vs. 10-20 A journey to the dark side

This is the first recorded test for Abram after he followed God to the land of the promise. You see it’s easy to get all pumped up at a Bible study or a Church service about God’s promises, but a whole other things when we are in a place where what God told us would be a blessing don’t line up with our circumstances. What Abram does not yet realize is the famine in the land is not of the lack of food or water but rather the famine was the lack of his trust in the word of God. The danger Abram faced is the same one that we do; it is when we confuse the peace and calm of outward circumstances with the peace and calm of God’s presence. The test comes when all is going contrary to His promises. We will do one of two things:

  • Pack up and leave

  • Cling to Him

Vs. 10 “Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.” There are five things about this decision to leave the land of promise and go to Egypt:

  1. went down to Egypt”: This was a logical choice, a natural conclusion to a difficult situation. Perhaps Abram had even ran into some travelers who indicated to him that there was food in Egypt. Abram could have reasoned that making this decision made better sense than staying did and in not going to Egypt he was jeopardizing God’s promises.

  2. the famine was severe”: Abram did not make a hasty decision, this was not Abram bailing out as soon as the first day of drought. This reveals that Abram clearly understood that God’s promises were true and that he tried to hang in there for as long as he felt he could.

  3. to dwell there”: The word “dwell or sojourn” means that Abram was only looking for a temporary stay and not a permanent home. Abram was not saying, “Hey I’ve given this God promised-land a try but there’re better opportunities in Egypt so I’m out of here.” Abram saw his move to Egypt as only a means to get back to where he knew God wanted him.

  4. Vs. 12 reveals that Abram understood the possible consequences if he left where God had called him to be. He had thought about this decision enough to think of possible solutions to the challenges he might face.

  5. As great as those factors are in making a good logical decision there is one thing that is absolutely necessary for Abram to have before he went. It was what he had clearly heard when he left Ur and Haran, God’s word to go! Yet that is the one thing that is missing in this story. Abram:

  • Weighed his oppositions

  • Waited on the circumstances

  • Resolved to make his stay only temporary to meet his pressing need

  • Yet, he did not hear from the Lord to go!

Egypt in scripture is always a typology of the world and it always represents compromise. No matter how difficult the situation and how logical the choice the place of faith is always better than the pathway to Egypt.

Abram went wrong at the same place we do, the lack of trusting in God to do what he promised always outweighs the difficulty of going to the world for help. We must never say to ourselves, “I’ve got to do something on my own to get out of this situation even if it means turning to the world for help!” Every event in life will do one of two things:

  • Draw towards trust in God and His word

  • Draw us away from trusting His word

The answer will not be found in weighing our options, choosing what is logical, figuring out what we need to do to survive. It is in asking ourselves, “What is God telling me to do?” We must stick to what He has called us to do no matter what, even if things get worse and trust God that He will bring food from ravens if necessary.

Vs. 11 It seems that Abram did not make this suggestion to Sarai until they got close to Egypt. Abram’s reasoning centers around his wife’s beauty. Among the scrolls that they found in the Dead Sea was one that contained this section of scripture and a commentary that confirmed that she was a very attractive woman.

Two things were changed the moment Abram chose not to trust the Lord:

  1. Vs. 12 “When the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me”: Lost his sense of security in the Lord. Abram had traveled from Ur to Haran and from Haran to Canaan with no mention of concern over his life. Yet now he moves upon his own logical choice and he fears his life won’t be preserved. Abram left the land of promises to because he was afraid his life wasn’t going to be preserved and now Abram has to face the same fear that he was running from, “God’s ability to sustain his life in spite of the circumstances. The only difference is the set of circumstances was now self-inflicted. God will still show that He is able to sustain his life without Abram’s wisdom or help.

  2. Vs. 13 “Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you”: A change of faith. Abram is going to be later called the “father of those who believe by faith” He loses his sense of security in the Lord and it is replaced by his sense of security in himself. It has been suggested that Abram LOST his faith or had a LACK of faith but Abram did not lose his faith or exhibit a lack of faith; he simply CHANGED his faith! He still had trust and this trust was no less lacking, but the object of his trust was different. The object of his trust had been in God’s word now it was in his ability and ingenuity. Prior to this he placed his life in God’s control now he placed his life in his own control. In doing this he placed himself into a greater trial then had he just remained in the land of promise and trusted God to provide. God does not need our help to fulfill His promises to us! Who do you trust more yourself or God? The theologically correct answer is God but if you’re like me the practical truth is yourself!

Vs. 14-20 Five reasons not to change our faith from God to ourselves.

  1. Vs. 14-15 The very thing that you fear might happen will: You can’t out maneuver the Lord’s will. Abram thought out his plan in a worst case scenario made provisions and trusted thoroughly in his plan as he went to Egypt didn’t he.

  2. Vs. 16 The price of your self-trust is greater than you think: Perhaps in the afternoon when Abram’s plan began after Pharaoh saw Sarai he thought, “Man this is working out better than I thought!” Abram was not only not dead he was being blessed materially (sheep, oxen, camels, male and female donkeys, male and female servants). Abram has told a ½ truth (Sarai was his ½ sister) and through this compromise the outcome was material blessing. A lot of times we see an abundance of what we think is good that comes out of compromise and think that God blesses us because of our compromise but the truth is God blesses us in spite of us not because of us. That was in the afternoon but at night as Sarai went in to Pharaoh’s chambers, Abram bedded down alone. He could have slept with the sheep or the camels but he would not be sleeping with Sarai. Abram had all the stuff but the price was that his wife was not with him. The truth is when we compromise with the world we may get what we wanted but the price is always greater then we can afford. Abram received female servants and no doubt that included Hagar whom we are told in 16:1 was Sarai handmaiden from Egypt. The price is not only greater then you can afford you may have to continue to pace throughout generations.

  3. Vs. 17 God will be faithful in spite of our faithlessness: Abram did not trust the Lord and instead chose to trust himself and the outcome is that God saves Abram from himself. The interesting thing is that this is the same faithfulness to His promise that he would have shown Abram in the land of promise that Abram thought he could not have trusted.

  4. Vs. 18-19 The world is watching to see if you live what you say you believe: The wording here by Pharaoh is literally, “What a way for you to treat me!” The Lord will use the ungodly idolatrous king to rebuke his chosen servant. Pharaoh asked “Why?” This would force Abram to examine his change of trust from the God. Perhaps Abram could hear the voice of the Lord through Pharaoh as the Lord was asking Abram, “Why did you not trust Me?”

  5. Vs. 20 You will end up right back where you should of stayed all along: The word “sent” is the word escorted. In 13:3-4 we read that “he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD.” What we sought to avoid by trusting in ourselves becomes known to all and we still have to go back and learn to trust in only the Lord! So Abram went back into the land of famine, escorted by Pharaoh to have to trust the Lord.