TODAY'S FOCUS: Genesis 12:16-17 (Common English Bible)
Things went well for Abram because of her: he acquired flocks, cattle, male donkeys, men servants, women servants, female donkeys, and camels. Then the Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Abram’s wife Sarai.
Responding to God’s call is one thing; convincing your stubborn spouse to come along is quite another. Although I do not speak from experience here (Bill is always right by my side as we navigate the ministry waters together), I can imagine Sarai has something to say when Abram reveals God’s plan to her. Since God speaks to Abram alone, moving across the country will not be on her radar. Leaving her familiar surroundings of city shops and markets, family and friends, all the modern conveniences she has known from her childhood will challenge her.
If I were a fly on the wall, I think I would hear her voice with an edge of annoyance: Abram, you’ve lost your mind if you think I’m heading into the desert countryside as a wanderer! And what do you mean you’ve talked to the One True God. You know there is no such thing. We have many gods!
Sarai is not only challenged to leave her home; she is forced to wrestle with her entire belief system. To make matters worse, their new home in Canaan is overcome with famine. OK, God, I’m willing to try this obedient ministry thing, but really… I do expect there will be food.
To top off her angst, Abram has his wife lie about her identity. Sarai is consequently taken from her husband and becomes someone else’s wife! Oh, why didn’t Abram and Sarai just tell the truth in the first place? Abram trusted God enough to leave behind everything they knew and loved. Why not trust God to protect Sarai from Pharaoh?
Isn’t that often the way? We think trusting God is easy – to a point. We are willing to completely turn over our lives to God’s care and promises – at first. When pushed into an unfamiliar or uncomfortable position, though, we are likely to take matters into our own hands.
How sad that pagan Pharaoh behaved more uprightly than God-follower Abram. At the same time, how encouraging that Abram (who behaved so selfishly) remained in place as the one God hand-picked to be our family head. Even my bad decisions cannot deter God’s plan!
Holy God, you have brought me to this place and today I trust you to lead me through it. Take away my doubts and help me to let go of my fears. Make your will clear to me, and may I relax and allow you to be in charge. Amen.
More to think about: