Don’t settle in Egypt (Part 2)
“Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.”-Genesis 12:10
How often do we look beyond God when other things appear more promising than what God has promised us? In these moments it is easy to get turned aside from the promises of God. Abraham, although he had a clear promise, got diverted by three things: scarcity, uncertainty and outside influences.
Famine, simply defined, is a drastic shortage of something. In this case it was likely food, water and adequate grazing areas for Abraham’s herds. Something happens in the psyche of a person when it appears that there is going to be a shortage of something. People move into survival mode doing anything from conserving to hoarding to make sure their needs are met.
Abraham wasn’t seeing the physical needs of his family met, so he chose to move his family to Egypt. It doesn’t say that this move was God directed. Abraham was moved by necessity rather than faith. Egypt was offering what the promised land was not. It was offering to meet Abraham’s immediate needs. How quickly do we abandon God’s promises when something else offers to meet our needs more expediently? You see, Scarcity can cause us to abandon our future to satisfy our present.
I can’t help think of the story of Jacob and Esau:
“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”-Genesis 25:29-34
Esau sold his future birthright to meet his immediate need; giving up an inheritance that was far greater than what filled his belly for a moment. Sometimes scarcity can lead us closer to God as we lean on Him for our provision, but it can often divert us from God when we look to other things do what God has promised to do for us, Himself.
As powerful a motivator, as scarcity can be in moving us away from God’s promises, Abraham faced another powerful factor that was equally as threatening:
“When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”- Genesis 12:11-13
Although Egypt likely held the resources to meet Abraham’s family’s need there was still a tremendous amount of fear and uncertainty that plagued Abraham’s mind. Abraham feared for his life. He was worried that he would be killed by the Egyptians so that they could take Sara as one of their wives. As great a man of God as Abraham was, this was not a high moment in his journey of faith.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church