We see a man of God, our father Abraham, rebuked by a heathen, Pharaoh. It is sad when a heathen displays more virtue than a man or woman of God. Often “Christians” feel they should get special treatment from authorities. No. God will allow them to rebuke the believer. Deception, lying, not keeping our commitments, etc. will bring a rebuke from the heathen.
Abraham the Friend of God
by Delbert Young
When The Heathen (Pharaoh) Rebuke The Righteous
When The Heathen Rebuke The Righteous
Scriptures: Genesis 12:9-10, Luke 9:62, 1 Corinthians 12:26, 1 Timothy 5:8, Genesis 12:11, Genesis 20:12, Genesis 11:31, Revelation 21:8, Genesis 12:14, Romans 8:28, Genesis 12:17-20, Romans 12:19
Genesis 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
GOING ON STILL
After entering the land Abraham continued going on still. Interestingly Abraham had entered his promise, but did not stop with simply entering. It was not yet fulfilled, simply entered. Though we enter the place the Lord desires us to come we do not stop. To be a friend of God we continue “going on still”. In any relationship that becomes more than an acquaintance there must be a going on still. How many wonderful acquaintances that could have been eternal friendships ended because someone would not go on still? Something comes along, some problem, the relationships terminates its progress and the friendship ends. To be a friend of God (Jam 2:23) we must go on still.
Genesis 12:10 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.
A SERIOUS PROBLEM
A short time after entering the promise Abraham had a problem. The problem was a grievous famine. The problem did not only affect Abram. It affected all those with Abram. It affected all those souls that loaded up all their possessions and followed Abram. It affected Sarai, Lot, Lot’s wife and family. The problem was present even though Abram was in the promise.
We learn that it is very probable, in fact guaranteed, that we will encounter serious problems soon after entering our promise. Not only are we affected by problems. All those going with us are affected by the problems. It is a grievous time and barrenness will set in. What does the friend of God do in this situation? He continues “going on still”.
Importantly Abram did not turn back. Ur would be south-west. Haran would be north-west. Abram headed south-east. He headed directly opposite. He would not look back after putting his hands to the plow.
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
How many people, after entering, come face to face with a serious problem and turn back. This will only result in missing all that the Lord has for them. Sure there will be barren times, but Abram decided to go on still.
We will experience problems and our problems will affect those with us.
1 Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. KJV
SOJOURN IN EGYPT
Abram never intended to stay in Egypt. His intent was to sojourn there not visit there. Abram was concerned for those following. He must care for his wife and family. There was a grievous famine and Abram was forced to make a serious decision. He was the leader and it was his responsibility to handle the problem. His response was to go to Egypt for a short time.
Most preachers teach that Abram was wrong in this decision. Why? There is nothing wrong with Abram’s decision to go to Egypt. If a man is a responsible father and there is no food for his family then that man will find a way. He will go where he needs to go to provide. This was father Abraham. You or I might go to a bank for a loan. The principle is the same. We would go to the world for assistance to take care of our family. Abram went to Egypt. If Abram had not provide for those he was responsible for, and especially his own house, then he would have been wrong.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. KJV
Genesis 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
What I trust we would not do is be deceptive when we went to Egypt (world) to get assistance for our families. Abram was definitely deceptive. He instructed Sarai to say that she was his sister. Abram’s reason for the deception was as he said, “they will kill me.” In Abram’s mind the deception was justified. According to Abram he and Sarai were somehow related. This is not found in scripture other than when Abraham later tells this same story to Abimelech. It is there Abram says that Sarai was his sister.
Genesis 20:12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
Exactly how this so-called relationship worked is confusing. Actually it does not seem they actually are related outside of marriage. My thought is taken from Genesis 11:31. There Abram’s father Terah was leading the family to Haran. The verse says that Sarai was the daughter in law of Terah, not Terah’s daughter.
Genesis 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
At any rate Abram was deceptive. Sarai was definitely his wife. It is amazing that a man could be so concerned concerning the welfare of those with him in one area and so unconcerned about the welfare in another area. This is not unusual. A man can be so concerned about his finances and money and not see his marriage deteriorating. Or a man can be so concerned about his job that he does not see his finances collapsing or his children rebelling. I’ve seen preachers so concerned about “their church” that his family fell apart.
The purpose of his deception was to assure that Abram would get what he wanted in Egypt. He was willing to sacrifice Sarai to get what he wanted. In our analogy of going to the bank today to provide for our families, we would never be deceptive. Or would we? We would not “pad” what our income actually is would we? We would be sure to list and tell all of our debts and bills wouldn’t we? We would tell them all the times we were late or didn’t pay our bills wouldn’t we? Most likely we would not. Why would we do that? The reason is so we could get what we wanted from Egypt.
Another aspect that overlooked is not only was it necessary that Sarai and Abram lie. All those with Abram would need to lie. To pull this deception off, Lot and his wife would need to lie. Those souls with Abram would need to lie. This would not simply be a sin of Abram and Sarai, but all those with Abram. This sin of lying would cause the Egyptians to sin. Had Pharaoh actually been with Sarai physically then adultery would have happened. Abram’s sin caused many to sin. The cause of it was Abram being fearful. Fearfulness will cause a person to sin. We understand that murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters are evil and will not inherit the things of God. What we must learn is that fear also must be dealt with just as a murderer, or a whoremonger, or sorcerer, or an idolater.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (emphasis added)
Our fears cause us to sin and cause others to sin. The correct action of Abram was to enter Egypt and trust God. Pharaoh would not have killed Abram as Abram feared Pharaoh would. Later, even after Abram’s deceit was discovered, Pharaoh did not kill Abram. He sent Abram and Sarai, Lot and everyone away. The correct thing for us to do is not be fearful. We must trust the Lord.
Interestingly Abram told this lie and instructed others to lie. This was after the Lord God appeared to Abram twice! Is this not like us today? We have a wonderful visitations by the Lord. We even build our altars and visit Him. Then we go and do some stupid thing that could have eternal ramifications upon our families and our heritage.
Genesis 12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
Obviously Sarai was extremely beautiful. Just as Abram suspected, Sarai was pointed out and soon taken to Pharaoh house to be taken to Pharaoh’s bed. The lie had been told. Abram prospered well during that time. Pharaoh gave Abram sheep, oxen, donkeys, servants, and camels. The gifts from Pharaoh were to gain Abram’s consent to have Sarai. Abraham was “pimping” Sarah.
The Lord allowed Abraham to be blessed even in this messes. Amazing! It may not be correct to say that the Lord specifically was responsible for this blessing of Abram. The Lord surely allowed the blessing. However the Lord did not tell Abram to go to Egypt and definitely did not tell Abram to lie about Sarai. Yet the Lord did say to Abram “I will bless you.” Perhaps this is best understood by the following scripture.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
To say that the Lord blessed Abram would be similar to saying that a man robbed a bank and was not caught. Then the man said the Lord blessed him. There are many people who have gained wealth by deception. We would not consider them blessed of the Lord.
Genesis 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
Things began to go wrong in Pharaoh’s house. Strange and adverse events began to take place. The scriptures call them plagues. These plagues were because of Sarai Abram’s wife. These plagues were not because of Abram. The plagues were not only on Pharaoh. They were on Pharaoh’s house. We learn we are affected by the actions of others. Also others are affected by our actions. As we are affected and blessed by the righteous acts of others we are also plagued with the unrighteous acts of others.
Mercifully the Lord delivers Sarai. The Lord had given no promise to deliver in this situation which they created, but He did. If the Lord did not mercifully deliver us from situations we create we would soon perish. We can see in Abram’s situation the Lord’s deliverance was as simply a friend coming to the aid of a friend. How many times have we been in messes of our own making, yet the Lord delivers us? Isn’t the Lord God wonderful (Psa 40:5)?
Genesis 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
REBUKED BY THE WORLD
We see a man of God, our father Abraham, rebuked by a heathen Pharaoh. It is sad when a heathen displays more virtue than a man or woman of God. Abram is ordered to leave Egypt. Pharaoh does not kill Abram showing that Pharaoh would not have killed Abram had Abram never told the truth.
Using the analogy of the bank again, if we are deceptive in our dealings with the bank we could be asked to leave. We could lose our privilege of ever going back to that bank. Interestingly Abram never went back to Egypt. The reason was had Abram came back Pharaoh my well have killed him.
Genesis 12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
COMMANDED HIS MEN
We see two thoughts here. First Pharaoh ordered Abram and all that was with him out of the land. Next we see Pharaoh commanded his people not to harm Abram. Often we know we personally cannot retaliate in a given situation. However we often encourage others to exercise vengeance for us. Though we may not say mean retaliatory remarks about someone who has wronged us, or been deceitful to us, or lied concerning us, we often want others to take up our bitterness and do it for us. This is wrong. The correct thing is to instruct others not to talk or harm those who have offended us. The Lord will work vindication on our behalf.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
What can we apply to our lives from this study?
A. We must journey “going on still.” Our walk with the Lord will encounter barren and times of famine. To obtain the promises of God we must journey “going on still.”
B. We will encounter problems–serious problems. This is especially true if a person is a leader. We may need to go to the world for help. Nothing is wrong with searching for help. A man must take care of his family and those dependent on his leadership.
C. Honesty must prevail even if we are fearful. Obtaining our desires at the cost of our family and loved ones is not a good witness at all. We will be removed from and rebuked by the world.
D. Pharaoh, though he could, did not injure Abraham. He also commanded his people not to harm Abraham. When we have problems with people, even deceitful people, we cannot talk about or harm them. We also must instruct those who would take up an offense for us not to talk or injure either.
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