In our lives we are always making choices, sometimes good ones that put God first, other times we fall short of the mark.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “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.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 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. 5 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.
6 Abram travelled 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. 7 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.
8 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.
9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
10 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. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 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!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
In this passage we see two results of Abraham’s choices, one where he gets it right, and one where he gets it wrong.
At first, Abram’s response to God’s call shows an exemplary amount of trust in God to follow what He says without questioning. Abram is in constant fellowship with God, and frequently worshipping Him and offering sacrifices. His faith is a good influence on those around him convincing them to come with him, putting life in the hands of the promise of God.
Unfortunately, in the next episode we see quite a different Abram. Driven by hunger, he chooses to leave the land of promise. Not communing with God and depending on His guidance, Abram is beset by fear. No longer the shining example to his family, Abram convinces Sarai to be accessory to a lie.
Instead of being blessed by God, Abram was fraudulently acquiring wealth from Egypt. Instead of being a blessing to others, he had placed Sarah in a position of compromise that would bring a curse on Pharaoh’s household.
It seems at this point that even the unbelieving Pharaoh is more attuned to the voice of God, than God’s chosen patriarch. In the wake of judgement, he finds the cause and makes a good choice, returning Sarai to Abram.
What a chastened Abram must have dragged his sandals from Egypt’s gates, realising that he had let his wife down, himself down, and most of all, his God down.
We too make good and bad choices every day. One moment we may be prayerfully keeping harsh words in check, another moment we may be flying off the handle. One day we can make big decisions, totally trusting in God, the next day, skipping breakfast has made us hangry and focussed on our own immediate and insignificant need.
Thankfully, above our propensity towards bad choices, is the grace of our good God. His story will continue to be written in spite of our detours. There could have been a nicer way for Pharaoh to become acquainted with the God of Abram, but the fact is that he did.
This chapter in Abram’s life reminds us that just answering the call of God is not enough for us to turn into righteous people who always make good choices. It is a day by day walk along the path He has set before us. It is constantly listening to His word and guidance, and it is about bringing our choices before Him in a sacrificial way, that He may be glorified and others may be blessed.
Head: The Abram of good choices obeys God, builds altars to Him, and calls on His name. Have a think about how this translates to our modern lives.
Heart: It is convicting to relate to Abram of bad choices. Think of the times when you have made your own decisions without taking them to God first. Ask for His forgiveness and for His guidance to realign with His plan.
Hands: When you are among those not yet following God, like Pharaoh, instead of being afraid of what they might think, look for ways that your choices and actions can depict the blessing of living for Jesus.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am sorry for the times when I have let you down and my choices have not reflected your wisdom or blessing.Help me to hear your voice, remind me to turn to you first for all decisions in my life. Please help me to be a blessing to others by making right choices. Amen.
A song to listen to: Shine into our Night
Nicole Davenport – Living church Creek Road
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Bible in 10 series in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.