Genesis 12:10 - 13:8
Yesterday I wrote about God calling Abram to leave his country and go to the land that the LORD would show him. I talked about Abram's faith and trust in God as he left everything and went where the Lord instructed. I stopped right before Abram met with God at Shechem and He re-iterated his promise of blessing to Abram. Eventually Abram settled in the Negeb (desert land in southern Canaan). After some time and a severe famine broke out and Abram went down to Egypt to stay for a while. Egypt served as a safe refuge when famine occurred. Often in the OT when famine breaks out the people go to Egypt. Egypt was the obvious place to go because in severe famines rivers would dry up and thus the vegetation would die because of lack of water. However the Nile was an enormous river and was not affected by the dry conditions.
What is strange about Abram’s journey to Egypt is that he instructs Sarai, his wife, to say to the Egyptians that she is Abrams brother because she is an attractive woman. According to Gordon Wenham, “Stranger still is Abram’s supposition that Sarai, aged about 65, should be regarded as outstandingly attractive. The narrative insists that this is not merely the opinion of a neurotically jealous husband, for the Egyptians heartily concurred.”
Ultimately Abram is afraid that Pharaoh would kill him if he found out he was her husband. The plan initially worked well for Abram at first because they treated him well and gave him livestock and riches. Eventually this little ploy affected Pharaoh’s household as it was struck with illness because she was Abram’s wife. Apparently God was not going to bless Abram’s deceit. When Pharaoh found out she was in fact his wife and not his sister he confronts Abram and tells him to take his wife and leave Egypt.
Vs 1 & 2 – Abram takes his family and possessions back to the Negeb. Apparently he is very wealthy. It is possible he gained some of his wealth in Egypt.
Vs 3 – 4 – On his journey north Abram goes back to where he began. It is quite possible that he returned to the place where he first met God so that he could recapture the experience of meeting with God. This was not an uncommon practice and even so among God’s people today. When we stray from God or face some sort of difficulty in life as believers we tend to go back to those times when we were closest to God; or we may even recount a time when we encountered God in such a way that we try to summon up this same exact experience. This may be the case for Abram as he goes back to the place where he built altars of worship to God; possibly the altars served as a visual reminder of the promise of God.
Vs 5 - 8 – As time moved on Abram’s and Lot’s possessions and livestock grew to the point here the land could not viably support both herds and this became a problem. Not only was space limited but food was scarce for the animals and conflict began to arise between the two families. This would make sense since the food and land was getting scarce the two herds would be fighting over the best plots of land for their herds. Both Abram and Lot saw this was becoming a problem. So instead of letting this conflict sever the relationship the two had with each other they decided it would be best if both parties went their separate ways. There is a lot of wisdom in conflict resolution. I will talk about this tomorrow.
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 1: Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary (288). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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