Genesis 12:10-19 (ESV)
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.”
This passage is disturbing because Abram’s actions were so incredibly immoral – not to mention faithless. This guy is the father of faith and yet he pulls a stunt like this?
It does make sense if you consider two things. First, Abram was right about the Egyptians and what they would do. From a secular point of view, his plan was brilliant.
Second, Abram’s faith was in the process of growing. He had not yet reached the point of counting on miracles. The plagues God inflicted on Pharaoh weren’t part of Abram’s plan and they undoubtedly got his attention. This was a teachable moment.
The heroes of the Bible weren’t supermen and superwomen. They were sinners just like us who kept serving the Lord through thick and thin and ended up being useful.
The encouraging thing about all this is that these great heroes didn’t start out being all that useful. They did lots of dumb stuff at first and were an embarrassment to the Lord.
But they learned from their mistakes. The key to how they became so great is that they weren’t in denial about those mistakes – and that they were such whoppers. The result was major growth.
Being a disciple is definitely a school of hard knocks. If you feel pretty knocked around, take heart. God teaches big lessons to the ones He has big plans for.
Take some time to relax and take stock. Spend a while just getting quiet before the Lord. Consider how far you’ve come in His service and what the next phase might be. Ask God to help you get mentally prepared.
Serving the Lord can get intense.
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