Follow Me: Liars

imagesObservations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 12[1]

The gospel God preached to Abram is the same gospel preached today. Both Abram and Christians look to the seed, one seed, for salvation. Abram did not know the seed’s name. Christians call him Jesus.

The knowledge Abram possesses had shallow roots. He built an altar at the place God appeared to him. Then he moved to a mountain east of Bethel and built another altar where he “called on the name of the Lord.” But there is little in this deal for Abram beyond a “great name.” Everything God promised belongs to a child Sarai will bear, and it’s impossible for her to have children.

Before the year ended Abram drifted away from the altar at Bethel. A famine turned him toward Egypt where his crisis of faith became evident. If he believed God would fulfill his promises, there was no reason to fear the Egyptians would kill him and take Sarai. Josephus, a Jewish Historian, also offers insight into Abram’s struggle to believe.

“…when a famine had invaded the land of Canaan, and Abram had discovered that the Egyptians were in a flourishing condition, he was disposed to go down to them, both to partake of the plenty they enjoyed, and to become an auditor of their priests, and to know what they said concerning the gods; designing either to follow them if they had better notions than he, or to convert them into a better way, if his own notions proved the truest.”[2]

Fearful the Egyptians would kill him Abram ask Sarai to lie about her marital status. Pharaoh took her into his harem and made Abram a rich man for the sake of his supposed sister. While Abram was counting his money and debating religion with the Egyptian priests, God distracted Pharaoh with illness that infected his entire family. According to Josephus, a sedition also arose against his government. Pharaoh had more pressing problems than satisfying his lust on the latest acquisition to his harem.

The Bible is silent on how Pharaoh learned the source of his problems. According to Josephus, Pharaoh consulted his priest who pointed the finger at Abram and Sarai. Pharaoh confronted Sarai. Sarai admitted that she lied about her relationship with Abram. Pharaoh could have killed both of them for deceiving him. But God had a plan for Abram and Sarai. No one can thwart God’s plan.

Pharaoh confronted Abram with a series of soul searching questions: “What have you done to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife?”[5] If Abram was disgruntled that God had invited him to Canaan to receive a city someone else would rule, he now knew why. Someone who would lie and encourage others to lie to save himself is not worthy of God’s New Jerusalem. Instead of killing the liars, Pharaoh proved to be a gracious ruler. Pharaoh let Abram keep the gifts that he gave him under false pretenses. Then he threw them out of Egypt with an escort guaranteeing they left and would never return.

This story shows the contrast between God and man. Abram was more concerned about his life than his wife. Sarai also represented God’s wife, the New Jerusalem[3], and God was concerned about Sarai. He afflicted Pharaoh for Sarai’s sake not Abram’s.[4] Abram heard the gospel and called on God but he is disobedient. God had told him to separate from his father’s house. Abram brought Lot with him to Canaan. God had promised to give the land to a child of Abram, but he did not promise to give the land to Abram yet.

 

[1] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Antiquities of the Jesus, By Flavius Josephus, Book 1, chapter 8

[3] Galatians 4:21-31, Paul tells us in verse 24 Hagar and Sarai represent two covenants. Hagar represents the covenant of law and the city of Jerusalem established on the law of Moses. Sarai represents the covenant made with Abraham and the New Jerusalem established on grace.

[4] Genesis 12:17

[5] Genesis 12:19

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of the Westbank Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
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