By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:8-10
Many are familiar with the Faith Heroes in Hebrews chapter 11. At 75, Abram demonstrated his faithful obedience to God when receiving the command to move to a foreign country. Yet, as he traveled to the promised land, he lied because of fear of the Egyptians. In his human frailty, Abram forgot the power of the God in whom He served.
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. 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. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you. Genesis 12:11-13.
Because of a supposed imagining–his wife’s beauty would cause the Egyptians to kill him, Abraham fabricated a sinister plot to save his life. What would cause this great man of faith to suddenly be filled with fear? His emotional response to the presenting circumstances [the known power and ruthlessness of the Egyptians] canceled his belief in the power of God.
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you. And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)
Would God make a covenant vow with Abram and allow the pagan Egyptians to take his life before he reached the promised land? Abram was aware the Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians. His fear overshadowed that when God makes a promise, He is prepared and has Divine solutions to every challenge we face. Seeing life through unbelieving eyes causes us to develop unreliable strategies to resolve the problem, always leaving us in a overwhelming predicament.
So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. (Genesis 12:14-15)
Can you imagine Sarai’s fear? When Abram fabricated the lie, he certainly did not anticipate the consequences of his wife being taken to Pharoah’s palace. Even though God was aware that Abram’s faithlessness would place Sarai in a situation that neither one could resolve, our loving and merciful God intervened to prevent terrible consequences. “But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” (Genesis 12:17).
Contrary to popular modern belief, God was not a punitive tyrant that enjoyed killing those created in His image. We read many stories of humanity’s weaknesses throughout the Old Testament based on disbelief and disobedience and God’s extension of grace and mercy. Historically, we have a proven track record of disregarding God’s commands and attempting to help God by using our limited abilities. And for our prideful sins, we suffer unnecessary consequences, yet, we view God as unfair in His justice.
Despite Abram’s moment of faithlessness, God lovingly rescued Abram and Sarai from a chaotic situation in Egypt. One would think that Abram and Sarai learned the lesson of trusting in God, but again they demonstrated the weakness of humanity when Sarai suggested that he marry Hagar. Both assumed that the promised male heir would never be born because of their advanced age. Again, in His mercy, God forgave them, making a new covenant changing Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. And Isaac, the promised son, was born to a woman, 90 years old, and her husband of 100.
Yes, we are Abram and Sarai, trusting in our abilities instead of possessing unwavering faith in our Omnipotent God. Unless we involve God in every aspect of our lives, praying for direction and patiently waiting for His promises to come to fruition, we can never please God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
Through prayer and diligent study of the Scriptures, we come to know who God is by developing a close relationship with Him. God is saying to us, “Commit your unknown future to Me.”
Prayer: God, we commit ourselves to you by placing our lives in your hands. We ask forgiveness for trying to figure out and fix our challenges. Thank you for your love, grace, and mercies. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. © 2022 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers, and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries