Out of the Garden, part fifteen

At this point in the book of Genesis, the focus is on Abram. He’s a man on a mission from God, traveling with the promise from the Lord that his descendants will be many and the lands across which he travels will be their inheritance. The presence and the favor of God is evident in his life to him and to anyone who encounters him. He’s anointed and on a mission, yet as we’re about to see, still very human.

Genesis 12:11-13 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my wife and treat me well because of their interest in you.”

On the surface, this strikes me as a dumb plan. I remind myself that I don’t know what the culture was like back then, so maybe Abram had a good reason to think this way. BUT, no matter what, Abram’s plan shows a distinct lack of trust in God. In very clear words, God has made it known to Abram that he will have descendants and that his legacy will be established for generations to come. He knows that his future is secure in the Lord. Yet as you read his plan here, you can sense the fear in it. Abram, a man touched by God, on the receiving end of one of the boldest and biggest promises God has ever made, should’ve been so full of confidence in the Lord that he could march through any land with head held high and no fear in his heart. Yet here he is, devising a scheme to save his skin. It goes about as well as you would expect.

Genesis 12:14-19  And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. 15 When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace.16 Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 17 But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!”

Abram’s dependence on devious tactics and deceit rather than on truth and the protection of the Lord caused problems for a lot of people. I find several really important lessons in this moment. Firstly, just because we’re called by God doesn’t mean we’re smart. There is room under the anointing for human foolishness and brokenness. One of the most dangerous things we can do for people with powerful callings and anointings is treating them as if they’re above the typical failings of man. In fact, they often need extra prayer and accountability because their position/calling in life makes them a target for the enemy. Abram was chosen by God to father many nations, yet the dude could’ve still really benefited from a wise counselor that said “Abram, your plan is stupid and a little insulting to God at the same time.”

The other important thing we find in this moment from Abram’s life is a reminder that our plans are nothing compared to those of God. It’s not wrong to make a plan, but if you want success you have to make sure the plan aligns with God’s plans. Abram’s plan involved a spirit of fear, lying, forcing others to lie, and deceit. And notice that nowhere is it mentioned that he took this plan in prayer before God. So not surprisingly, the plan didn’t work out too well. I’m always curious about what might have been in certain Bible moments, and this is one of them. What if Abram had gotten before God and shared his fear over losing his life and the life of Sarai in Egypt? Maybe he would’ve gotten a bit of a scolding for having weak faith, or maybe God would’ve given wise counsel about how to handle the situation. Either way, it surely would’ve led to a better outcome than what ended up happening. By trying not to lose his wife Abram very nearly lost his wife!

We’re flawed. The wisest person you know still makes bad decisions from time to time, and the most anointed person you’ve ever met isn’t beyond falling to temptation and fear. These truths should send us running ever closer to God, because it is only in His presence and with His power that we can rise above our own weakness and foolishness.

I love you guys, it’s good to be back at the blog this week. I hope all of you are doing wonderfully! If you have any prayer needs or just need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to email me at freejenkins@gmail.com


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