Gen 12 – Abram, Pharaoh & God
There are times in our lives that we make decisions that are contrary to God’s will which may threaten His plan. In Genesis 12, Abram, whom the Lord God had made an incredible promise with, made a blundering decision that endangered God’s plan. But here we will learn a fundamental biblical truth that God’s plan are not easily derailed.
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. [Gen 12:10]
As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” [Gen 12:11-13]
When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. [Gen 12:14]
And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. [Gen 12:15-16]
But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.
So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!”
Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. [Gen 12:17-20]
Gen 12 – God Prophetic Promise to the Nations
The last person that God spoke to was Noah in Genesis 6, but then He was silent for 470 years until He spoke again to Abram, 11th generation on the family line of Shem.
Abram grew up in the city of Ur in the lands of the Chaldeans. This very ancient city was located by the Euphrates River in mordern day Iraq. In Genesis 11, Abram’s father, Terah was divinely inspired to leave Ur and head toward Canaan. Instead of trekking west through harsh desert, they followed a well traveled caravan route until they reached Haran which was located in an area in modern day border of Syria and Turkey. But then Terah settled in Haran and eventually died there. Afterwhich God spoke…
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” [Gen 12:1-3]
How was Abram being a blessing to ‘all peoples on earth’ a Crimson Thread?
Abram, though a nomad all his life, was incredibly rich and highly respected where ever he went. But his world in respect to the entire earth was in reality limited to the lands of Canaan and a small part of ancient Egypt. So, was God’s rhetoric a poetic exaggeration like the way fathers would… well… sometimes highly praise their own sons? God did not and does not exaggerate. For we now know that Abram did become a blessing to ALL the nations thousands of years after he passed away. As to he being part of the Crimson Thread, his later direct descendant is Jesus Christ.
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. [Gen 12:4-5]
Let me talk a little bit about Sarai. Scripture emphasized in Genesis 11 that she was barren but gave no other details. In those days, the barrenness of women were considered a divine punishment for their sins. For women, this was a thing of great shame. In Sarai’s case, her being barren was indeed God’s doing, however He was not doing it to punish her. His plan for her like Abram was also to ultimately bless mankind. But from her point of view at that particular time of her life, she felt the shame not knowing why.
Now, at the second half of Genesis 12, Sarai was described to be an incredibly beautiful woman and that beauty will be cause for Abram to interfere in God’s plan. We’ll cover this in my next post. Meanwhile, I wanted to draw something of her beauty and took the liberty of using a well known cinematic beauty of Angelina Jolie to be Sarai. Frankly, if a role of Sarai ever come about, I hope she would be cast.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. [Gen 12:6-9]