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Do you remember what it was like to purchase your first home or to rent your first apartment? The excitement of setting up your new homestead! This was going to be your start of something new! New surroundings, new neighbors, and new adventures to discover. Well this is probably how Abram felt. He arrived in the land promised to him by God. Now it was time to pitch his tent and claim his new home’s location. Scope out the land, and start new memories!
For today’s study in the life of Abram, we will review Genesis 12:8-20.
Verse 8 & 9
In these verses, we find Abram continuing his journey in the Promised Land to a mountain east of Beth-el and there he “pitched” his tent. The Hebrew definition for Beth-el is “House of El” or “House of God.” So now we read Abram making claim this plot of land as his homestead east of the “House of God.” One couldn’t have picked a better location! Notice what Abram does next! After pitching his tent, Abram builds an Altar unto the Lord and calls upon the Lord. Have you discovered what I did? This is the second mention of Abram building an Altar. Abram is a worshiper, and he doesn’t hesitate to seek his God. He was probably thanking the Lord for his new home and divine protection, and seeking God’s advice for what to do next. As we read throughout the recorded history of Abram in the Bible, Holy Spirit makes a point of letting the reader know “and Abram build an altar” everywhere he traveled and “sought the Lord God.” Once again, Abram is a worshiper seeking God. (“And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth–el, and pitched his tent, having Beth–el on the west, and Ai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord , and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.”)
The Test (Read Genesis 12:10-20): We now read in verses 10 thru 20 there is a sudden change of events. A grievous famine plagues the Promised Land (“And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land). Holy Spirit doesn’t record how long Abram and Sarai were in the Promised Land before the famine hit the land, but due to the severity of the famine (v.10) we can assume it was a couple years. One can only imagine what was going through Abram’s mind, such as: Did I make the right decision? Did I really hear God? Everyone must think I am crazy?
Faith Tested: As we continue in verse 10, we discover something very interesting, Abram doesn’t return to his native country, instead he chooses to leave the Promised Land and travel to Egypt. Egypt in the Bible is symbolic for “the world.” Why does Abram leave Beth-el, the Promised Land? Was it doubt or fear? I believe Abram was troubled with both doubt and fear. Why? Because he doesn’t build an Altar to seek God’s wisdom, and he now fears what he can’t control. Now before we criticize Abram, let’s examine our own actions. God instructs you to leave all you know and are comfortable with to move to an unknown territory, then danger threatens you and your family, what would you do? The same as Abram! Doubt God’s word and become fearful of what you can’t control!
So, Abram takes Sarai and travels from the Promised Land to “sojourn” in the “world,” which was not God’s will for him. Did you notice 2 things from this verse? First, Abram did not call upon the Lord; and secondly, while not in the Promised Land the Lord God didn’t call unto Abram. Abram was not in God’s will and was operating in doubt and not faith. I would venture to guess, the fear of lack overrode his faith to ask God for provision in the Promised Land. He for a moment forgot God’s divine hand of guidance during his 700-mile journey to the Promised Land. Can you identify with Abram? I can! Overtime, we too tend to forget pass blessings of the Lord when faced with trials beyond our control.
The Plot: Verses 11-20 Abram almost reaches his destination – Egypt, when a second fear stirs up in his heart, which is the fear of death. Sarai, although in her senior years, was very beautiful to look upon. Abram thinks he knows the ways of the people of the land so he in his mind he believes “if the men of the land know Sarai is his wife, they will take her and kill him.” Abram is allowing his instincts to move from faith to fear. Operating out of fear for his life, he encourages Sarai to lie to Pharaoh’s men to save his life by saying she is his sister.
As Abram feared, when he entered into Egypt the princes noticed the beauty of Sarai. Abram was questioned about their relationship, he lied and said Sarai was his sister. The Egyptian princes paid Abram very well for Sarai and took her to Pharaoh’s house to undergo intense preparation to become Pharaohs wife.
God made a promise to Abram and God never fails to manifest his promises in our lives. No devil will ever stop God’s plan or word from performing its purpose. I love reading verses 17-20, it reads the power of Father God in action! God acted on behalf of Abram and miraculously kept Sarai from becoming Pharaoh’s wife. Father God sends a plague to the house of Pharaoh: “And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.” Friends, don’t mess with God’s anointed, whether they mess up or not! Our Father protects His children! So, world watch out, payback is coming! Please note, God’s children don’t have to lie, live in fear or doubt, He provides and protects His children.
Abram’s mistake – he failed to “call upon the Lord for advice about the famine.” Abram forgot about God’s divine protection and provision during his 700-mile journey to the Promised Land. I believe Father God would have miraculously provided for Abram and his family during the famine. Faith is freedom and opens the doors to manifold blessings, fear puts you in prison and keeps you in lack.
Father God rescues Sarai from Pharaoh and as we read in verses 18- 20, Pharaoh rebukes Abram of his deception. He returns Sarai and tells Abram to leave Egypt! Wow! Pharaoh is sending Abram back to the Promised Land, to his home east of Beth-el! What a black eye to the devil! Once again, as a reminder, the devil can never stop God’s plan. Had Abram called upon God none of this would have happened, but we can learn from Abram’s mistake. How, by 1) seeking Father God first before rushing ahead in fear; 2) By faith, ask then wait for Father’s reply. The word says “faith” can move any mountain in your life. What mountain in your life needs to be made a plain? Let your faith plunder it! Father God honors faith! Faith says “all things are possible with God. Put your trust in God!” Whatever God has promised you, He will fulfill in your life. Friends trust God for everything and you will always be victorious in whatever comes your way. 👣
Victory has a name – JESUS!