Genesis 12:20 – And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
Hello readers, new blog time today! Genesis 12… God had told Abraham what to do, and Abraham had obeyed and done it (he was still called Abram at this point). God had blessed Abram, so surely Abram was going to be blessed. The blessing of God was to faith, and received by faith… that is how the promises of God are received, by faith. We don’t deserve them, we haven’t earnt them, we simply believe God. But in the same chapter as where we see Abram obeying God and entering the land God had told him to go, we also see him leave the land quickly as well. And it all happens that quick, in life it is so easy to be walking with God, but next second things happen, circumstances or situations arise… and our walk with God can get shot to pieces. We can briefly get in the land God has for us, but no sooner are we in the land, then we leave it. So easily we can go from faith to faithless.
Things can be going well, you can be walking with God by faith, obeying him, getting blessed and being close with God in fellowship… but then just like with Abram, something bad hits, and next minute we are going downnn… just like he did. Abram was in the land God had promised to him, he shouldn’t have left, but a famine came, and instead of consulting God, instead of sticking where God had led him… Abram went to Egypt to help. In the Bible, God says Isaiah 31 … Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help… we so often to the world for help, we try everything bar sticking with God and his word by faith. We walk by sight, not by faith. It’s sinful, fallen human nature. We are children of pride, and we have this conception that pride is this lofty, better than you attitude people can have, but pride is this nature in us that resists God. You can be “humble” but proud, pride is this hardness to God, resistance to God, the part of us which refuses Gods grace, which cannot call upon the Lord, which is self sufficient, self dependent, independent.
In the same chapter we see perhaps the whole Christian walk even presented in a nutshell. Abram, the father of faith, yet in the same chapter where he was blessed and where he obeyed and where he had faith… we also see a lack of faith. It’s a good thing for us that our salvation, our lives, does not hinge on our performance. If it was dependent upon us and our performance, well, we’d be in trouble. But the excellence, the power, the glory, the ability, the knowledge, the wherewithal… it does not lie in us, but in Christ. God was pleased in his Son, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. It was Jesus who pleased God, and through Jesus that we have the promises, the inheritance, the blessing… the grace to live from second to second, day to day, week to week, year to year. We never keep the standard, we never live up to it, but we know someone who does, and someone who did. And just like God intervened in mercy for Abram in this chapter, so God intervenes, giving the grace and delivering us. 2 Corinthians 1:10 – Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. Past, present AND future deliverance for the believer! God’s grace is sufficient. It is easy to think that God’s grace runs out, or gets God tired, or has an expiry, or that we have an allotted quota which can be exhausted… but God’s grace is sufficient for every second of our lives, both now and for eternity. God in fact did not destroy all the nations out of the promised land at once, he did it little by little as they went, so they would trust him.
Faith pleases God. But conversely, without faith it is impossible to please God. But what is faith? Faith is hearing and obeying God’s word. That’s what separates a hearer from a doer of the word that we read of in James 1. A hearer hears, so does a doer, but the difference is a doer does something with what he or she hears. We have all heard… read Psalm 19, read Colossians 1:23! We are without excuse completely. Abram didn’t get anything more special than we get, we get God’s express word to us, given in hard copy, the full counsel of God, which the Holy Spirit uses to minister to each of us personally and reliably and clearly… yet we won’t hear. Because we are dull of hearing, and slow to do, because we don’t really want to do God’s will. We don’t want God’s voice, just as Israel in the desert… the Bible says they intreated Moses that the voice would be stopped… because they could not endure that which was spoken. For an unbeliever, for someone in sin, the Bible is too much. Too much light, too uncomfortable, too much death to our flesh.
It was no small thing Abram did, uprooting his entire life to obey God. The promises God gave him were to faith, that’s why a saved person is a child of the promise God made. The promises are inherited through following in the same steps of Abram, who had faith in God. The seed of faith, are you of that seed? Has that seed, the pure seed of the word of God been planted in your heart, taken root, sprung forth and yielded everlasting fruit? He heard, he believed… in his heart. And it did change his life, look at his actions, he took action. But here we see that it is so easy to go from faith to faithless. It’s so easy to turn to the right or to the left, it’s so easy to lose our way.
What caused it? A famine. A famine one way or another will get you. One that starves you from reading your Bible, when life squeezes you a bit, it is so easy to abandon the commands of God. We start to rationalize, lean on our own understanding, do what we think is right. It got Abram in a big mess, and it will get us in a big mess today. Here he was down in Egypt, lying, not trusting God. It cost his wife as well, our faithlessness costs those around us, sin is never done in isolation, sin is selfish, and it costs others. The Bible says to take heed, lest we fall… because Abram was a better person than you or I, yet he so quickly fell off the wheel of what God had for him. He went down, and we go down when we leave the security of God’s word, when we don’t keep what God says. We have an enemy that wants to steal from us, and he steals none other than the very word of God form us. Look how effectively he’s done that with new Bible “translations”, the word of God stolen form right under peoples noses… done with subtlety, because people think they have the word of God still. That’s how much of a roaring lion he is to be reckoned with, because he pulls it off with us thinking we are ok. Abram thought he was ok, but he was on the precipice of disaster, the promised child could’ve been taken from him by Pharaoh, imagine if Pharaoh had taken Sarah and she had a child by him. Satan was right after the blessing immediately, because it was through Isaac, and later on through Jesus that the promises would be obtained and made sure forever.
He wasn’t where he should’ve been, and when we are out of place, bad things happen, he was in the lion’s den, in the lion’s mouth… but we have a God who shuts the mouth of the lion. 2 Timothy 2:13 – If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. God is faithful, even when we are not. John the Baptist went from proclaiming the arrival of the Son of God with all surety, to sending disciples from his prison to ask Jesus if he really was the one. It is okay to struggle, Gideon doubted and God bore with him, it is part of life, but it is how we deal with it, whether or not we overcome through faith. Because it is by faith that we overcome this life. Faith in Jesus, who has overcome the world. Jesus said of Abraham, that he rejoiced to see Jesus’ day, and in this case here we see faithful Abraham in a faithless phase of his life, yet Jesus remained faithful and delivered him out of the malaise he had gotten himself into. It is no coincidence that in Genesis 12 we see faith and faithlessness, because this life is a struggle, Satan is after the seed, and circumstances and situations of life will drive us down to Egypt, and Egypt is no place for a believer. The Bible says out of Egypt have I called my son… it was speaking of Jesus, but the same can be said for you, God wants you in the promised land, knowing and obeying his word even when circumstances and situations are contradicting, because faith pleases God. He wants you out of Egypt and in the promised land, he wants you faithful, not faithless.