A PLAGUE ON YOU! (Part 1)
(Read: Genesis 12:10-20)
“But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” Genesis 12:17.
We pick up Abram as he continues on his journey through the land the LORD had promised to his descendants. We see that there is a great famine in the Promised Land. The LORD had sent this famine to test the faith of His servant Abram! What was Abram going to do? Would he call on the LORD to provide for him, knowing that the LORD is faithful? Or would he lean on his own understanding?
We see that Abram, like many of us, had not yet learned to FULLY trust in the LORD. However, the LORD is patient with His children! So let’s see if we can learn from what the LORD taught Abram. Christian, you need to learn the proverb, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding!” Proverbs 3:5.
Abram looked at the Promised Land and saw severe famine all around. If he could have change stones to bread he would have! The place had become a wilderness. Hunger and thirst hid behind every dry and parched rock! Of course, Abram didn’t know the verse of Scripture, the verse the LORD quoted when He was in the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4. Jesus trusted in God the father to provide for Him. But what about Abram? The LORD had caused the famine to teach Abram to trust in Him alone! It was to teach Abram to trust every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
When Moses addressed the children of God he said, “He [the LORD] humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3.
Did Abraham trust in the promises of God during the famine? No, instead Abraham wrote an elaborate “stage-play”! And Sarah his wife was to be the star player in this stage play. In simple terms, Abram had a plan! He told his wife that they were flying south for the winter! Just like the Canada goose they were heading south to escape the season of famine. Sarah was to be his passport, his ticket into the “Oasis Casino.” He was going to park his camel and try his luck on the “pokey machines” of Egypt!
Abram was a gambler (we see this in Genesis 12:12-13). The stakes were high. He was gambling with his life! Like all gamblers Abram had a system. He had a plan – Sarai! We’re told in Genesis 12:11 that Abram observed that Sarah was “a woman of beautiful countenance.” Take a beautiful woman with you and you’ll receive the royal treatment on her account! “Pretty girls just seem to find out early, How to open doors with just a smile!” (The Eagles), so go the words for a popular song from the seventies still popular today. Abram knew that his wife’s pretty face would get him into the “Oasis!” And we see in Genesis 12:14 that the Egyptians agreed with Abram, “So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful.”
Abram had masterminded a brilliant plan! His fake passport had fooled Egyptian customs! “The princes of Egypt also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house.” BINGO! JACKPOT!
What a great mind this man Abram had! His plan was foolproof. There he was in among the high-fliers. He was, so to speak, playing the roulette-wheel beside the high rollers. In today’s vernacular, no doubt Abram couldn’t believe his “luck.” He even landed himself beside the highest of the high rollers, the Casino owner, Pharaoh himself! Find a stunningly beautiful woman, use her wisely, and you can go places in this world. Doors will open for you. And here’s the proof!
Why put up with a famine in the land the LORD has promised when you can have wallow in the riches of Pharaoh’s court? So there was the beautiful Sarai in the palaces of Pharaoh. Marilyn Munro in Kennedy’s Camelot? There’s more to it than that!
What was really going on here? Abram wasn’t really gambling with luck, was he? Abram was really gambling with the LORD. He was putting his trust, not in God, but in the flesh. He was trusting in his own plan, not God’s plan. He was putting his trust in his wife. He was trusting in his wife’s good looks. He was trusting in those things that don’t last. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley” (Robert Burns ‘To A Mouse’).
As the LORD through His Prophet Isaiah says 40:6-8, “All flesh is grass, and its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” O Abraham, don’t you see that the famine in the Promised Land is from the LORD? The LORD, like a hot wind, has blown upon it and brought this famine! O Abraham, why do you seek refuge in the things of the world? Wouldn’t you rather be a doorkeeper in the house of your God than dwell in the tents of iniquity? Abram was young in the faith. He had a lot to learn! But praise the LORD for His patience toward all His children!
To summarize before we move on, Abraham, at this time, trusted in his own wits. He trusted in his own wife! He trusted in her beauty! And he trusted in the wealth of a nation.