Text verses: Genesis 12:10-20
God does not give us the length of time between Abram’s arrival in Canaan (the land that God had promised to Abram) and the famine that caused Abram to go to Egypt for a season. But when the famine came, it was so grievous in Canaan, that it did cause Abram to go to Egypt; as our text verses describe.
But as Abram neared Egypt, he told his wife Sarai to tell them she was his sister. (Because of her beauty, Abram feared that they would kill him and save her alive.) Abram was trying to save his life.
While they were in Egypt, the Egyptians and even the princes of Egypt saw her beauty; and she was taken into the house of Pharaoh (the king of Egypt). Pharaoh paid Abram well in livestock, menservants, and maidservants. However, God plagued Pharaoh’s house because of Sarai, to keep Pharaoh from taking her to be his wife. Then the secret was revealed to Pharaoh. Because of Abram’s deception, Pharaoh sent Abram, his wife, servants, animals, and possessions out of Egypt; thus closing this episode of Abram’s journey.
There are several lessons to learn from Abram’s doubt that God could spare him through the famine. This famine was not an ordinary famine, for the Bible says, “the famine was grievous in the land” (verse 10). This indicates the severity of the test for Abram in the development of his growth as a Child of God. God’s Children have to grow in faith (not that they need more faith; but growth in The Faith).
Here are some of the lessons to be learned in Abram’s first journey to Egypt:
1) In the Scriptures, going to Egypt indicates many times that the Child of God is leaving from a walk of faith to a walk of the flesh. Egypt types out the kingdom of darkness and sin in the Scriptures. Pharaoh represents the devil. This place is called “the iron furnace”; a place of captivity, of bondage. (See Deuteronomy 4:20; Jeremiah 11:4. Also see Isaiah 30:1-3; 31:1, 3.)
Many times a Child of God is young in knowing that God’s Promises are sure and amen in Christ. When adversity comes into his life, he gets scared and fearful, and begins to try to fix the situation by following the flesh. The first thing he does is run to reason; he does not stand still and wait upon the instruction from God.
A Child of God must learn to stand in God’s Word of Promise, even when it looks as if all is lost. (See Acts 27:31, “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”)
The problem lies in not trusting God (see Jeremiah 17:7; Proverbs 3:5-6; James 1:5). God has a way of escape in every trial (1 Corinthians 10:13). He did for Elijah as the ravens fed him, and then as the widow woman fed him in the famine.
Egypt is never the answer. It may seem expedient for the moment, but in the long run, it spells defeat. It did with Abram, and it will with any Child of God who depends on the flesh, or the enemy, to carry them through a famine, or a test, or a trial.
2) Note the problems in Abram’s testimony:
- He told a half-lie; Sarai was his half-sister. God’s Children walk in The Truth, not in lies; for lies are of the devil (John 8:44). Jesus is The Truth; and His Children are in The Truth.
- Abram walked in fear for his own life. But the regenerated Child of God has received not “the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption”; the spirit of “power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (Romans 8:14-16; 2 Timothy 1:7).
- You always pick up some excess baggage while in Egypt (Genesis 12:16). Abram picked up some maidservants, and one of them was Hagar. This would come to cause havoc in Abram’s house (Genesis 16:1 – 21:21).
- Your lie will be found out (Genesis 12:17-19); “…be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23b); that is, unconfessed sin. If you sow it, you will reap it (Galatians 6:7-8). There is always a great cost to unconfessed sin. (See David’s life in 2 Samuel 11 and 12; the story of Bathsheba, Uriah, etc.)
- You will lose your testimony with the unsaved people around you. “Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife” (Genesis 12:19a). God’s People are to have a good report to those without. Especially the Man of God, the Elder, the Bishop; see 1 Timothy 3:7a. Also see Exodus 32:25, “for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies.”
- And lastly, Abram was cast out of Egypt by Pharaoh, “and they sent him away” (Genesis 12:20). Abram left in disgrace of Pharaoh and all of Egypt.
There is nothing worse than when the world sees a Child of God depend on the flesh instead of the Faith, and fail, and become a disdain to the enemy of God. When this happens to you, it causes the enemy to mock you and God. They say, “Who is your God?”; and “He must not be able to care for you”; etc.
Abram left Egypt with the shame of a scolded dog, ‘with his tail between his legs.’