Yesterday’s post ended with the statement “We need to be in the process daily of seeking Him on all we do and build our altars of worship and praise to the One who brings us through each moment of every day! “ (I noticed that yesterday I used the wrong spelling of the word altar. The word I used was alter. It has now been corrected. I apologize for this error.)
Have you thought about what altars you are making? Are you building an altar of praise and worship or an altar to self? Let’s find out what other altars Abram has to build and how he fares on his journey to Canaan. It gets pretty interesting as we go. Come along and let’s see how he continues his prayer, praise and worship with God.
Now as Abram is passing through the land of Canaan, he realizes there is a famine in the land. He decides to go to Egypt instead of staying where God sent him. He decides without talking to God. That is always the first step in a wrong direction. God really would like us to talk to Him about all of our decisions and this one of Abram’s was a big decision. He didn’t trust the Lord for his provision. His eyes were not staying on God and because of that… things kind of got messed up a bit. Let’s start with the scripture.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I[c] may live because of you.”
14 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
To begin with, there is never a mention of Abram stopping to pray and ask God anything. Like I said, that is a dangerous place to be. He was relying on self and self alone. He also made another mistake. He was thinking of himself and his safety and never once thought of Sarai’s safety and well-being. Making it sound as if it would be good for her to do this, and apparently Sarai didn’t object because she went along with it. So Sarai was added as one of Pharaoh’s concubines. Yes, she remained safe and yes Abram gained because of this decision… but it was worldly goods that he gained. He didn’t gain a deeper understanding of God and His provision. He didn’t gain a deeper trust in the One who called him out to Canaan. What was he thinking? Apparently he wasn’t. So they spend some time in Egypt until God is so displeased with the whole thing that He sends a plague on Pharaoh’s house. Here is the scripture.
17 But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.
Here is this man of God standing before Pharaoh being chastised for lying. Here is what Ray Steadman has to say about this escapade that Abram takes his family on.
“… Furthermore, we are told he was given maidservants, one of whom was named Hagar, with whom Abram later conceived the child, Ishmael, the father of the Arab nations, who have been ever since a thorn in the side of Israel. The price of living in Egypt is a fearsome price to pay.
But this is not all: Abram became a curse to the worldlings with whom he lived. “The Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” He was called to be a blessing, but when he got into Egypt, he became a curse instead! A Christian out of fellowship with Christ is of no help to the lost people around him. Instead, he is a hindrance. His life of hypocrisy and weakness is a stumbling block and a plague upon the hearts of those who are watching him.”
So you can see that there are a few consequences of making this decision to “go to Egypt” without consulting with God first. There are always consequences when we step out and do things on our own and not consider that God may actually have a “Plan” for us that doesn’t include “going to Egypt”. God will never send us to a place or require us to do something that brings shame and degradation to us. Abram brought this upon his family all by himself.
Finally, Abram and his family leave Egypt. God brings them back to where they started… in Bethel. Where Abram made the last altar. He returned to where he had been when he was walking with God. He stopped to worship again and get right with God. He prayed and God heard his prayer. He left emptiness and lack of the presence of God in Egypt to find the sweet fellowship that he had before with God. Abram came home to God. Abram found that God will provide for all of his needs as the scripture says:
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I will stop here for now and begin the next phase of Abram’s journey with God. There is still a lot to come and I am excited to be walking this journey of Abram’s with you. Remember, God will never leave us in a dry and parched land or in a place of emptiness and degradation if we truly are humbled and call on His name. He loves us too much to leave us there. He always calls us His beloved!
The Song -I’m Coming Home – Carman