The story of Abram and Sarai, a couple whose names were changed by God to Abraham and Sarah begins in Genesis 11:22 where we learn they settled in the land of Canaan.
Hebrews 11:8-10 lists Abraham in the list of people cited for deep faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
In between our introduction and this passage in Hebrews Abraham’s faith took some twists and turns that are a reminder to me that God’s grace covers even our darkest seasons.
Read: Genesis 11:22-14
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
4 So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. 8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev.
After we learn that Abram settled in Canaan the next time we hear of him he is 75 years old. God has spoken directly to him and he responds immediately. I’m assuming here, but to be 75 years old, clearly understand God’s voice and obey immediately makes me think that they had a relationship. Although Abram is obedient, the first story we read shows that his faith only extended so far.
10 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. 11 It came about when he[j]came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a [k]beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that[l]I may live on account of you.” 14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians [m]saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and [n]gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.
God protects Sarai from her husband’s fear, and in Genesis Chapter 13 we learn that Abram is a wealthy man, and he and Lot spread out to at Abram’s request to have peace. Also, Abram was generous allowing Lot to chose which land he preferred even though he was older and entitled to choose first.
Genesis Chapter 14 shows how brave Abram was. He saves Lot from danger and sticks to his faith refusing to accept the king of Sodom’s bribe. Abram has become less intimidated by kings.
Record: Do you agree that Abram had a faith filled relationship with God before we read about him in chapter 12?
Would you have had the same concerns Abram had about the Egyptians?
Chapter 13 reveals another promise from God to Abram I didn’t mention.
Why do you think Abram had a different response to the king of Egypt than the king of Sodom?
Review: At 75 years old it seems Abram’s adventure with God was just getting started. People lived much longer in the days of Genesis, but 75 years still includes a lot of life lived. Abram’s characteristics as we are introduced to him show him to be a man of faith, obedience, bravery, generosity and also with some flaws. It brings me comfort to know someone with such strength of character also had his weaker moment.