What do we know so far?

In my head, I have a picture from every detective show I’ve every watched. At some point, there some sort of bulletin board with character names, timelines, possible motives, what is known, and questions. That’s what I’d like to do this week with our three characters that we have been studying: GOD, ABRAM, and SARAI.

Let’s share our character sketches today. Mine are below. Tomorrow, we’ll take some time to match these stories up with our lives and faith.

I have my notebook out, and I hope you do, too. Let’s see what we know so far. We may have many of the same things written down, and it is also possible that we had different impressions (at this point in the story) of who God, Abram, and Sarai are.


We don’t know what God looks like, but his fingerprints are everywhere.

  • God chose Abram, called this unlikely man from a family/country of idol worshipers to follow Him.
  • God made promises right away, from the very beginning, as from a King to his people. He did not give Abram a comprehensive set of rules, a roadmap, or a destination.
  • God directed Abram and his tribe to go into the Negev desert at the end of a 300-year drought period.
  • God made promises to Abram:
    • “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 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 12:1-6)
      • Note: God gave no description of or legal title to the land, just that “I will show it to you.”
    • “I will give this land to your children.” God said this to Abram at Shechem, by the Oak of Moreh. Gen 12:7)
  • God disapproved of Abram’s deceit, revealed his power and authority, and sent a plague/illness into Pharoah’s household as punishment for brining Sarai into his harem (Gen 12:17-20).


  • Abram left his country, people, and father’s household; took his wife, nephew, and all they had; and headed into Canaan. He was 75 as this story started.
  • We’re not sure when, where, and how Abram and God talked together; we just have Abram’s transcription of what God said.
  • Abram is married to his half-sister Sarai. They have no children.
  • Abram built altars to God at Shechem and Bethel.
  • The marriage seems to be a little strained.
  • Abram moves the tribe south into Egypt (along with their army of 300+ soldiers) to escape the famine. To avoid any danger to himself, he concocts a plan to declare Sarai his sister so that she is eligible as security in the form of a marriage alliance with Pharoah. How did he manage to do this? Why did he do this? FEAR? GREED? BOTH?
  • Abram and Lot both grew very rich through their alliance with Pharoah (16)
  • God showed his power not only to Abram and Sarai, but also to Pharoah’s whole household.
  • When given explicit instruction from God, Abram obeyed. He was Obedient without knowing the future, his faith pleased God. At other times, he went the way the thought of as wise. He seem to be a conflict avoider.

Did Abram tell others in his family, including Sarai, about hearing the voice of God and tell them the promises that were made?
Did Abram tell Sarai about God promises? Did Abram think that they included Sarai (because she was barren)?


  • Sarai is Abram’s half sister (different mothers) and also his wife. She is beautiful, even at the age of 65 when this story begins.
  • Sarai has not been able to conceive and bear any children. This is very distressing for her. She believes (and others in her culture agree) that giving birth meant that God looked on her with mercy. Did she feel unloved, unseen by God.
  • The marriage seems to be a little strained.
  • Instead of drawing her identity and purpose from God, did Sarai fall into the same trap that catches the rest of us. Did she listen to the voices of her culture, her circumstances, and the people around her who were telling her who she was, what would make her life fulfilling, and how she could contribute?
  • Because Sarai is so beautiful (at age 70), Sarai lets Abram talk her into deceiving Pharoah and becoming one of his wives. What arguments did he use? Why did she say yes? Did she feel resentful or unloved?
  • What was Sarai’s reaction to being “taken to Pharoah as his wife?” (vs 19)

How differently would their story would read if, instead of of cooperating with Abram’s cowardly plot and lying, Sarai had reminded him of God’s promised protection from his enemies and firmly refused to go along with his request?

Let’s pray.
Our Father in Heaven, help us to to listen for your voice and to hear you as clearly and obey as faithfully as Abram did. Let Abram and Sarai, who you declare in Hebrews to be heroes of faith, but examples for us as we live our lives. Help us to believe your promises and to be living sacrifices for you. Amen

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