GOD CHOOSES THE MOST UNLIKELY PEOPLE
Did God choose this couple because they were worthy, because of their outstanding attributes and earned it? Were they the “best of the best”? If that is what you thought, these verses may cause us to question that idea. And that also gives us HOPE, because we don’t have to meet certain parameters of excellence to be invited to join God’s family. He designed, loves, and has a purpose for each one of us.
SET THE SCENE
MY (BIASED) RETELLING OF THE SCRIPTURES
Abram devised a “stay safe, get rich quick” scheme. He had a large, well trained armed force that protected his people and goods. Lot, who traveled with him, had a similar group of fighting men. But Abram wasn’t looking for a fight—he was looking for a friendly alliance. Sarai would be demoted to the status of sister, rather than wife, and in so doing would insure Abram’s life and the lives of his people (10-13).
Sarai became a part of Pharoah’s harem, which included wifely duties (15). Because of her, Abram got along very well (16). In his favored position in Pharoah’s court, Abram’s wealth grew. But God wasn’t happy with this situation, and everyone in Pharoah’s household got sick. And Pharoah’s investigations led to the discovery of Abram’s half lie (18-19). “Get out!” and Pharoah sent them packing (20).
COMING INTO FOCUS: GOD, ABRAM, SARAI
- Did you notice that God isn’t mentioned in these verses until He played a bit part in verse 17. Or maybe it was the main lesson of this scene in which God made His will known to many.
- God showed himself to the Egyptians as well as to Abram, Sarai, and the whole tribe with the illness of all in Pharoah’s household. He let Abram make his mistake of depending on himself instead of going to God, but then these actions were followed with consequences brought on by God.
- As a modern-day woman who has been married to the same man for 50 years, I am totally disgusted with Abram. He made Sarai the scapegoat and traded her honor for his own personal safety and wealth. He must have been a smooth manipulator to get her to agree to this falsehood, to get her to agree to be the sacrifice for him and the rest of the tribe.
- Abram gave into fear and forgot about God and His promises to him. Instead, he depended on his own ingenuity to get out of a sticky situation.
- What was Sarai’s reaction to Abram suggestion, to his willingness to put his own personal safety before her safety and honor? Could this have been the final straw in the haystack that was being built between them telling her that she was dispensable? Barren, not loved enough to fight for, useful as a bargaining tool rather than as a wife? I realize that my views are colored by our culture and times, but surely these thoughts ran through her mind every night as she lay in bed unable to sleep. After this chapter she becomes demanding, cynical, and nontrusting.
- How did Sarai feel about getting “saved” by God and returned to her husband and tribe? Do you think she felt “seen” by God or did she continue to wonder if she was included in His promises to Abram?
MUSINGS AND INSIGHTS
God had made clear promises to Abram:
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:2-3).
In the heat of the moment, in the presence of threats to his welfare and that of his people, Abram’s defense dependly solely on his own ingenuity. I think of God with a parental attitude here, allowing him to learn the hard way in the hope that the lesson will be well learned.
I also think of the times that I have not stopped to think about God. In foxhole situations where I depend on my own plan, rather than praising God for being the Almighty One who loves me, for being the Great Shepherd who loves and guides me, and for being the source of all that is good. Scrambling out of danger seems the best course. Praising God is counter-intuitive, yet that is what he calls us to do. And when we praise Him, when we turn our eyes to His light, when He shines His face on us, we know hope and peace in spite of dire circumstances.
It is through God’s love, mercy, and provision that we have been chosen to be a part of His family. This reminded me of an old hymn, “Just As I Am.”