After God called Abram, he packed up everything and everyone in his rather considerable household and set off for a destination God would show him, and as we discussed in the last section, this is one of the great examples of faith in the Scriptures. They set out and God leads the party right through Canaan and into Egypt because of a famine in Canaan. When they approached Egypt, Abram became concerned about his wife Sarai, for she was a beautiful woman: He devised a plan:
As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” (12:11-13)
Was Abram having a crisis of faith or did he just not quite comprehend what God had promised him? Of course, we have no way to know for sure what was going on in Abram’s head; we can only note that he had fallen from his high ground of extraordinary faith into a very deep valley at that moment. One might even expect that God might inform him that their deal was now off.
Yet God didn’t do that.
God did take notice of the fact that Sarai had been taken into Pharaoh’s household as his wife, and He intervened in a rather interesting way; He sent sickness into the household and made Pharaoh aware of the real relationship between Abram and Sarai and Pharaoh was horrified at the deception. Here we might expect Pharaoh to kill Abram, and yet once again God intervenes, and rather than kill Abram he shames him when he takes the position of being the righteous one and expresses his disgust at Abram’s behavior. Then he returns Sarai to Abram and has the two and their entire household, including the gifts Pharaoh had given them, escorted out of the country.
What an adventure!
It’s even more interesting when we take note that in Old Testament prophecy Egypt represents this world. Taking an apocalyptic view, we could say that before God fulfilled His promise to give the Land to Abram, he led Abram into this world where Abram fell into sin, and then God redeemed him out of it, a theme that will be repeated throughout Scripture.
That theme also plays a big role in the “Christmas Story”, for through Christ we have all been redeemed, and received God’s promises, yet in this world, we continue to stumble around in our sin; yet God remains faithful to His promises even when we are so very weak.
When you come right down to it, isn’t that the whole point of the “Christmas Story”?
Abram’s adventures aren’t nearly over yet and in the next chapter he will once again manage to find the high ground; see you next time!