I’ve just reached the point in biblical history when Abram (later to be known as Abraham) and his wife Sarai went to Egypt due to the famine in Canaan (Genesis 13). Abram fears for his own life at the hands of the Egyptians due to Sarai’s beauty, but instead of asking for God’s help and protection, he devises a ruse that Sarai is his sister rather than his wife, persuading her to go along with it. She does, and for a very short time Abram receives many gifts and blessings from the Pharaoh in honor of Sarai.
But suddenly God rains down terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household, and somewhere along the line God reveals to Pharaoh exactly why he and his family are suffering: the woman he’s been infatuated with is, in fact, married to the man who claimed to be her brother. I wonder how God chose to reveal this to Pharaoh… Furious at being deceived, Pharaoh summons Abram and lambasts him for not being truthful about his relationship with Sarai, casting him, Sarai, and all their people, livestock and possessions out of Egypt.
It seems that Pharaoh would have accepted Abram as Sarai’s husband had Abram trusted God’s protection over him. It also seems that God wanted to be particular in how He got His message across to Abram that he should have trusted Him in the first place rather than taking things into his own hands. What’s worse, though: seeking God and then not going by His instruction, or leaving Him out of the equation entirely? I’m guessing both are equally foolish. Why we ever think we know more than the One who knows everything is beyond me, yet I know I make such decisions pretty much daily.
Furthermore, others suffered because of Abram’s scheme. Not just anyone, mind you, but the flippin’ king of an entire nation! A king who, again, perhaps would gladly have accepted Abram and Sarai as they were into his community! At the very least, Abram could have just asked for some degree of protection from God, and any attempts to cause him or Sarai harm would have failed. I wonder what the situation would have looked like if Abram had sought God’s wisdom and protection. I wonder how the future of Abram and his descendants could have been set on an entirely different course. All because we try to cover our own hides rather than seek the One who knows best. A simple lesson, but the most difficult to learn.