Summary of passage: Abram went to Egypt due to a famine. Abram told Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister in order to protect himself because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him. So Pharaoh married Sarai (thinking she wasn’t married) and treated Abram well because of it. He was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, servants, and camels.
The Lord was angry at this so he punished Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked Abram why he lied to him. Pharaoh sent them out of his land. They returned to the Negev much wealthier from his lie to Pharaoh.
Abram traveled back to Bethel where he had built the altar earlier (Day 4) and called on the Lord.
11a) Nothing is an act of nature since God is in control. I think it was a test of Abram’s faith as we see as the story unravels and Abram’s self-preservation and self-reliance is revealed. God never told Abram to go to Egypt; he was to stop in Canaan. The famine is a test to see if Abram would rely on God for all his needs. Obviously, Abram doesn’t. He schemes and ultimately failed in this test.
b) Acknowledging God, calling on Him, faith and trust in God.
12a) Verses 11-13 Abram is telling Sarai to lie because he is afraid of being killed. Verse 15 shows how Abram just stood by while he let Pharaoh take his wife as his own and fornicate with her. Because of this in verse 17 we see how God punished Pharaoh for Abram’s sin. Abram in verse 13:2 became rich because of it and doesn’t seem to show any remorse. Hagar will also enter the picture (Genesis 16), a source of jealousy for Sarai.
b) Israel (Abram’s descendants) will bear the Lord’s wrath due to Abram’s sin until the Lord brings Israel into the light. We will also see in Genesis 16:1 some of the consequences of this sin in the form of Hagar, one of the maidservants Abram and Sarai acquired while in Egypt and what harm she causes.
c) He didn’t punish Abram but instead punished Pharaoh and He allowed Abram to profit financially from the sin. God blessed and protected Abram because God had bigger plans for him than this sin.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I definitely don’t see any repentance. Just because you build an altar doesn’t equate with asking for forgiveness for your sins. I see faith in building an altar. That’s about it.
My take-away is to ask for forgiveness for your sins where Abram did not and to have faith that God will protect you on your journey in this life instead of scheming, lying, and allowing your wife to fornicate with others.
Put your faith in God and His promises–not in lies–for ALL things. Only you can fail God. God will never fail you.
Conclusions: I had completely missed this the last time I read Genesis. I didn’t remember Abram doing this to protect his own skin. To me, it seems like Abram was having a high ol’ time, living it up, at Sarai’s expense (unless she enjoyed being the wife of the most powerful man of the known world, but we are not told anything with relation to how Sarai felt).
Abram threw her under the bus and seemed content to have her stay there forever. God’s the one who saved her, not Abram. To me, Abram is callous and doesn’t care. He’s probably living large with his other wives while using the servants Pharaoh gave him.
I see Pharaoh here as the victim and actually as a guy with a heart. As soon as he found out Sarai was married, he corrected it. He was angry he wasn’t told. I don’t see Pharaoh here as a guy to take another’s wife. Yet he was punished because of Abram’s sin. Talk about unfair! Life, right?
Abram was just lucky he was God’s chosen vessel for the future or he could have been incinerated on the spot!
This sin must have been HUGE to God. Here’s the woman who will bear the line of Christ and Abram allows her to be defiled by a Gentile unbeliever! She could have conceived, died in childbirth, who knows? Another slap in God’s face to how man has twisted the intent of marriage and not held it as sacred as God must.
Abram must have faith in God’s plans so we can only hope he learned from this and as Genesis unfolds we will see other tests he passes with flying colors.
But God’s plans are bigger than Abram’s sin so God worked through and in spite of Abram’s sin as He does always and for me and you. Even when we sin, God is there to pick us back up and put us back on HIS path, not ours.
This is BSF at its best. The facts of the story and then ONE application question that shows how to rely on God and not yourself. Great stuff!