Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”
When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had. (ESV)
Abraham was commended by the writer of the Hebrews (Heb. 11:8-12).
In the passage before us we see Abraham’s:
It’s during trial and hardships that our true character is revealed.
Abraham should have trusted the Lord, but decided to go down to Egypt.
Abraham revealed a lack of trust in God’s promises – a faltering of faith in which he trusted in his own understanding. What makes us falter and give up on the cultural mandate – a famine, or something much less serious?
Abraham feared for his life and told a lie regarding Sarah, thinking the Egyptians would kill him if they knew she was his wife. We too may start living a lie when the modern day Egypt threaten our lives.
Lying about Sarah was folly on Abraham’s side, because it threatened the royal messianic line. He endangered the woman from whom the Messiah would come. If she had a child from another man from a different and pagan culture would cause confusion and set a poor example for coming generations. But God’s faithfulness overruled.
Folly manifests when we prioritise personal gain and safety over integrity and faithfulness.
Pharaoh gave Abraham gifts which was ill-gotten gain, not a blessing as some people may say of worldly fortune.
The Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his household.
He was sent away from Pharaoh with all he had, going back to what God called him to.
The reason why it’s going well with us, it is because we are better off than we deserve. If we knew what we truly deserve, we would drop our narcissism (see Psalm 103:3-13).