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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

August 19, 2015

Genesis 12:10-20

  1. Let's recap for a minute. Going back we understand that the these first few books of our bible were written not to be an exhaustive history lesson, but to help the ancient Israelites understand the plan that God had for them and what that plan was from the beginning. The ancient writer quickly takes us from the beginning of time to the time of Abraham in 12 chapters. With the understanding that the word for days in chapter one is really describing an era of time and not a 24 hour period. We see that the writer condenses billions and millions of years in the first chapter, thousands upon thousands of years in the following chapters and then slows it down as we move past Noah and get to Abraham. Time is condensed because no book could hold all that has happened. Time is also running out. This book not only seeks to connect the ancient Israelites to their ancestors and the plan of God, but this book also seeks to lay a theological foundation for us to see the plan of God. The sequence of the creation is a picture of salvation, with the light shining on a dark world bring forth life from the light. This is surely a picture for us to see that our chaotic lives can only get in order from the light of God shining in our lives. The Adam and Eve of our lives has been a seed that must die in order for the life that is deposited in us to come forth. Adam and Eve were not God's final plan. Adam was only an earthy image of God, but he was not yet a spiritual image of God. He was the beginning of the process to make man in God's complete and perfect image. Adam began our death in the flesh, but Jesus began our life in the Spirit. God's plan from the beginning was that we become a spiritual image of God formed and perfected in a vessel of clay/dust. God's plan consists of taking humanity out of the death in Adam and creating a new man in His image in Christ! Christ is the way, the truth and the life! God began the process of making a spiritual image of Himself by forming Adam in an earthy image of Himself. The spiritual image of Himself would come later in the Man Christ Jesus! Man's failure did not come as a surprise to God. God had the plan for man's redemption before He formed Adam from the dust of the ground. His plan was greater than just a restoration of man to his former state; His plan was to take humanity out of its former state and bring it into a higher state-a spiritual state of life in which there is no decay, deterioration or death. After Adam we are given the story of Cain and Abel. This story begins to teach us about the Godly line of people who would worship God and put God first as opposed to those who would seek their selves first. Cain kills Abel and is exiled. Years later his offspring would multiply with and from other descendants of Adam, but his descendants would not serve God. On the other hand, Adam had more sons after Abel was killed, and they began to call on the name of God. Noah was a descendant of that Godly line of people who called on God. The story of Noah is also a theological picture of our need to be redeemed from this world and saved from the judgment of God. God saves Noah with an ark. The ark is a safe place during the time of God's judgment. And for the believer we see this ark as a picture of Christ. In the time of judgment we are safe in the ark of Christ. The flood kills and it saves. After Noah we see many nations coming forth. And out of those many nations God has a special plan to save the world through one of them. The book of Genesis was supposed to teach the ancient Israelites their purpose in the scheme of God's great plan. The book was also supposed to correct the things that they might have learned in Egypt that were contrary to God. Yahweh in Genesis is not like the Egyptian Gods, Yahweh is the one true God, who is transcendent and who is all powerful. He speaks his desire and it comes to pass. He does not require the assistance of other gods or man to perform the acts of creation. He alone possesses the power and means necessary to effect the creation of the world. And finally for our recap, the writer brings us to one of the central characters of Genesis, Abraham. We last looked at Abraham several weeks ago. We know that he lived with his father who was called by God, but did not continue to follow God all the way. Eventually Abraham hears God for himself and journeys out from his father to the place God was calling him to. We learned several weeks ago that Abraham’s answer to God was a great act of faith. Abraham demonstrated great faith in following God, but in today's lesson we will see that even those of great faith can struggle when they are scared.

  2. Verse 10. Canaan wasn't a lush, uninhabited paradise, just waiting for Abram and his family to move in. Not so friendly people were already in the land (12:6). Also, there was a severe famine in the land (12:10), in the Promised Land! Abram had always lived in Ur and Haran, which are both on the banks of the Euphrates River. They never lacked for water. But now he sets out by faith to the land of promise, and the first thing he encounters is a severe famine. How many of us know that what God promised might not look like what we think at first. If God promised you something, you have to hold on. Abraham experiences a famine shortly after he gets there. Instead of thinking that the famine was designed to move the inhabitants out, he moved out. Just maybe tough times are designed to move your opposition out of the way and not you. Instead of seeking some direction from God, Abraham decides to go to Egypt. Seems reasonable, but that wasn't God's plan. Good plans are not always God’s plans. Abraham moved on fear instead of waiting in faith. That is a lesson for so many of us. We move in fear, but don’t wait in faith. Or we wait in fear and don't move in faith. The text implies that Abraham decided from the beginning that it wasn't going to be permanent trip, but a temporary one. I have learned that even a moment out of God's plan can be dangerous.

  3. Verses 11-13. Abraham travels to Egypt out of fear, and he enters the city in fear. The scriptures inform us that he is fearful that he will be killed over his wife, so he ask his wife to say she is his sister and not his wife. She was related to Abraham so to a degree it was not a full out lie, but it was deceptive in the least and it was meant to be that way. Fear will cause you to do some crazy things. In this case, Abraham's fear is causing him to lead his wife in sin asking her to play along with the deception. Fear is causing this man to compromise what he knows is right. Fear will always lead you to a place of compromise. What we need to see is that the fear Abraham has is an assumed fear, not a valid threat. In the text today, we will never see a moment where Abraham's life was in jeopardy. This fear was all in his head. We have to be careful not to make decisions prematurely. Fear is such a strong emotion that it can create all sorts of scenarios in your head that can cause you to quit too soon. He left Canaan too soon, and now he is giving up his wife too soon.

  4. Verses 14-16. Sarah was extremely beautiful because as soon as they enter the city Pharaoh's officials notice her and wanted her to meet the Pharaoh. This seemed reasonable to them since Abraham gave them the impression she was just his sister. At that time a brother's responsibility was to find a suitable husband for his sister. Pharaoh's officials know this and extend all sorts of courtesies towards Abraham. It is safe to say that everyone treated them with the utmost respect, but Abraham assumed they would deal with him harshly. He was gravely mistaken. Pharaoh followed the ancient tradition of paying the bride price to the family of the bride. Abraham was given much wealth assuming he was more than willing to let his sister marry the wealthiest and most influential suitor available. It is very hard to stop a lie. Abraham's deception is now full blown. It is significant that Abram’s deception concerning his wife started with a trial, the famine in the land. Whenever we face trials, we need to be on guard because the situation can either draw us closer to the Lord or turn us away. The words,”Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8), are written to suffering Christians (1 Pet. 5:9, 10). When trials hit, the devil moves in to take advantage of the situation by trying to get us to turn from the Lord to our own schemes. That was Abram’s problem in this situation: He was relying on his own scheming, but he had not sought the Lord (see lsa. 31:1). If Abram had asked, the God who would later rain manna from heaven and bring water from a rock could have supplied his needs in the land during this famine. But he didn't bother to ask. When you turn from the Lord to your own schemes of deliverance, you get yourself in deeper trouble, and you have to figure out even more schemes.

  5. Verses 17-20. We don't have all the details, but what we do know is that shortly after Pharaoh takes Sarai to be his wife, disease comes on his entire household. Somehow Pharaoh discovered that Sarai was not Abraham's sister but in fact she was his wife. The Pharaoh knew how evil that was to take another’s wife and had more fear of committing this kind of offense than Abraham was. Pharaoh sends them away from his presence. In this case the pagan Pharaoh had a greater since of right and wrong than Abraham. We must be careful that the world doesn’t have a higher morality than the church. Some stuff that people do in the church, many in the world would never do.

  6. In 12:10-16 we see Abram's faithlessness; in 12:17-20, and God’s faithfulness in delivering Abram and Sarai. There are some obvious parallels between this incident in Abram's life and the nation Israel to whom Moses was writing. Both Abram and the nation Israel went down to Egypt because of a famine in the land (12:10; 47:13, 27). God sent plagues on Pharaoh to deliver both Abram and Israel (12:17; Exod. 7:14-11:10). Abram received many possessions from the Egyptians (12:16); Israel took great spoil before the Exodus (Exod. 12:35-36). God delivered both Abram and the nation of Israel, and they journeyed north toward the Negev (12:19, 13:1; Exod. 15, Num. 13:17, 22). Thus Moses put this incident here to show Israel that just as God had delivered Abram from Egypt in spite of his weakness, so He had delivered Israel in spite of her weakness. It didn't depend on their faith, but on God’s faithfulness. Just as Abram returned to the land and called upon the name of the Lord, so did ancient Israel obeyed God and took the land. We can apply it to ourselves by realizing that when we are faithless, God is still faithful (2 Tim. 2:13). Thus, we should be restored in our faith as we look to the faithfulness of God.

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