Posts Tagged ‘Abraham’

Fare for Egypt

This One-Year Reading Bible plan is not for a person like me who cannot resist the urge to chase after frogs, and meander off the trail. So I hereby, henceforth, do now bequeath unto me, the liberty to run after rabbits or to stop to smell the roses!

That being said, I’m going back to Genesis 12-13, Abraham and his side-trip to Egypt!

The portion that has caught my eye is Genesis 12:10-20.

Genesis 12:10-20

God’s Call

The Lord told Abram I will take you to a land I will show you. That land was Canaan. And though he must have felt quite a spectacle being a monotheist in a pagan society, he built an altar to the Lord and worshipped Jehovah in that land anyway!

He was bold like that. Strong, and full of faith. But then…

…now there was a famine in the land

…the famine was severe in the land

Famine

What happens when I experience a famine? Especially if I’m in the middle of doing something that I think to be of God? What do my famines look like? Would my response be similar to Abraham’s?

Abram’s Response

Abram doubts God, or at least His call (raise your hand if you can relate). Things aren’t going so well. As a matter of fact, things are severely dried up and there is absolutely no fruit to show for his obedience.

So he does what any burdened husband would do, and says yes to a job transfer down to Egypt.

No mention of God directing Him there, or even a prayer to the Lord committing his ways to Him.

Abram’s Results

Pharaoh commanded his men concerning Abram; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. 12:20

Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 13:2

He certainly seemed to fare well during that famine, didn’t he! Is this a case of Jehovah-Jireh?

Genesis 13:1-4

What was the Result of the Result?

The immediate result of the “blessing” he acquired from Egypt was strife. Genesis 13:1-13

Because both he and his nephew Lot had so much flocks, herd and tents and servants, there was not enough land for both of them to be supported.

There was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmens of Lot’s livestock.

So How Much did it Really Cost Abram to Travel to Egypt?

TEN GRAND

1) Left the land God called him to (disobedience)
(tho totally understandable naturally speaking due to the severe famine in the land)

2) Asked his wife to disobey (lie) as well (caused another to sin)
(tho it was for both of their greater good)

3) He tried something that got him hooked, and it’s an “addiction” that affected his child’s life as well (Gen 20:18; 26:1-16)
(listen, honey, do it just this once, that’s all, just this once)

4) Fails to protect his wife from the hands of a stranger (does he lose her trust?)
(but it’s such a small price to pay for the life your husband)

5) His integrity starts to crumble
(he did tell the truth, Sarah was his sister too! 20:12)

6) Loses his testimony as Pharaoh finds out about his lies and schemes
(well, he did give Pharaoh an opportunity to experience the Lord personally! 12:17)

7) Gone are the good old days of simplicity and family
(but look, his nephew benefits from the trip too. 13:5)

8 ) Riches took precedence over family unity. There’s not enough land for all the cattle, the only solution is to divide up. (Was that really the only solution?)

9) And just where did Abram get that maidservant named Hagar, anyway?
(but Sarai, she will be such a great help in the kitchen. It’s a provision from the Lord. I’m sure you’ve prayed about wanting more time in your schedule!)

10) Lot’s heart. When Lot had to make a life-changing decision, what was his criterion? He based it on…”what was most like Egypt!”
(Yes, I want to serve the Lord full-time, but my nephew deserves the best the world has to offer and I want him to prosper, afterall…he’s like my very own son!)

Genesis 13:1-18

What was Abram’s Alternative?

This story reminds me a lot of the book of Ruth. One theme to trace in that 4-chapter book is the comparisons between Elimelech, who left Bethlehem (God’s land) because of the famine, and Boaz, who endured the famine in God’s land. (I’m going to show restraint and not chase that bunny any further!)

But that book does present to us the alternative. Live through the famine. Be driven to God. Learn to trust.

We trust God the most, when we don’t have to trust Him

Is there any hope for that kind of trust?

Abram eventually does learn to believe and trust the Lord. He goes through the most grievious “famine” ever and does not “go down to Egypt” to escape it. He trusts God wholly, especially when he needed to trust Him most! Read about it in Genesis 22!

O Lord God, thank You for the many blessing in this life. But I pray that You would grant me discernment between blessings and curses, between Your provision and ill-gain. I desire to walk in Your ways more fully every day! Amen.

Maps

Genesis 12:6-9 – Abram travels to Canaan

Genesis 12:10-20 – Abram goes to Egypt

Genesis 13:1-4 – Abram returns from Egypt

Genesis 13:1-18 – Lot and Abram divide

A Tangent (from the Psalms)!

WARNING: This is a long one!

Though my hope for this year is to study half of the Psalms, I’m also attempting to read the Bible through chronologically. I know reading should only take about 3-5 minutes per chapter, but things just capture my attention, and after that butterfly I follow.

All that to say…I may digress from time to time to jot down a few thoughts about the “reading” that I’ve done in the one-year-reading plan!

Abrams Nomadic Ways

Mapy of Israel in OT

Genesis 12-13

In Genesis 12, the Lord told Abram to get up and get moving…and that he did!

Abram came to the place of Shechem (12:6).

Historically, Biblically, Shechem was a place of decision-making (around the area of Mt. Gerezim and Mt. Ebal).

1) Who Will I Obey?
In Joshua 18 we have Joshua laying before seven of the tribes the choice of whether they were going to obey the Lord and claim their possessions, or if they were just going to forfeit it to their old tapes, er, I mean, their enemies.

Just because it “has always been that way. I don’t know any differently, etc.” Was that going to stop them from obeying the Lord and fighting for the Lord’s portion prepared just for them?

2) Who Will I Serve?
In Joshua 24 at the end of this great faithful leader’s life, Joshua takes it a step further. He gathers them around Shechem again, and this time gives them a pop quiz…

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

And here is a hint at the best answer, says Joshua:

Serve the LORD!

3) Who Will I Worship?
John the Gospel writer records about Jesus in John 4,

He needs must go through Samaria (Shechem area). (KJV)

What?! What Jews “needs must” go anywhere near the hill country of Samaria? But here we see the Lord leading a woman of the town to a decision at noon day as to who she will worship. She choose wisely!

This decade, I want to choose wisely! Let this month of January be for me my own little Shechem, my own little valley of decision-making, my opportunity to resolve with the 7 tribes, the Israelites and Joshua, and the woman at the well, to obey, serve and worship the Lord whole heartedly!

All that for the 12:6, the first of Abram’s many hometowns, Shechem. You can see why I couldn’t quite fit this onto Facebook’s 420 character status update!

Speaking of Choices…
The next place we see Abraham moving to is called the Saddle of Benjamin, between Bethel (House of God) and Ai (Pile of Rubble). (Genesis 12:8) I can’t tell you the number of times I feel like I am between those two places in my own life! And reading it just now, it doesn’t look like that hard of a choice.

  • Will I spend time in the House of God or in a Pile of Rubble?
  • Will I invest in adding on to the House of God or adding to a Heap of Ruins?

Amazingly, even faithful Joshua had a difficulty with this choice. If you have the time, please read the story found in Joshua 7. He made four serious mistakes when confronted with this decision…

1) He underestimated the enemy.
I need to be equipped daily against the enemy of sin, temptation, and the tempter.

  • I need the sword of the Lord (His Word).
  • I need to take up the power of prayer that is directed to the Lord.
  • I need the fellowship and presence of other followers of Jesus Christ.

The second mistake they made was
2) The people were divided.

Because they underestimated the enemy, they thought “we only need some of us to go up.” For me, that looks like me rationalizing away my commitments to the Lord, or the full extent of it. “5 minutes is as good as 15. I’m tired, I’ll hook up with God tomorrow, etc.”

3) They asked not counsel of the Lord
Either they were comfortable with their spiritual life, and they already knew it all, that they could answer for God. Forge His signature, as it were.

Or, they didn’t think His counsel important enough to seek. “He’s so arachaic, and hard, and so out of touch. He’s given us brains to reason, afterall! Surely He doesn’t expect us to seek His opinion on every matter!”

4) There was unconfessed sin in the tent
O may we never learn to live unblessed and get comfortable with second best. Achan chose the rubble of gold rather than the obedience to God!

Mamre and Hebron, Abram’s other hometown, 13:18

Mamre means Fruitful and Hebron means Fellowship. They almost always go together.

I have often heard it said,

that we are who we truly are when we are by ourselves.

I despise that pithy statement.

  • I mean, was God mistaken when He declared “It is not good for (wo)man to be alone”?
  • Or was the wisest man of all the earth jesting when he said, “Two is better than one, and three is even better”?
  • Or was Jesus’ promise of a peculiarly special presence for when two or three people are gathered together in His name, just syrupy Hallmark words?

No, I am who I truly am, when I am with other followers of Christ, other sojourners on the pathway of Truth. I need Hebron if I want to be the least bit Mamre in my life! I’m so thankful to God for encouragers along life’s journey!

I was going to talk about how much it cost Abram to take his trip to Egypt and back, but that will be have to be a

To Be Continued…

Lord Jesus, I choose You! O come Holy Spirit. Amen.

I Want To Be More Like Jesus song