Gen. 12:6-8 God appears to Abram the second time

Gen. 12:6 "And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD." 

The bible is presented to us as a progressive revelation.  First, God reveals a truth unto us, then he progressively reveals more truth to us.  God had promised seven blessings unto Abram the first time that he appeared to him.  Now God makes a further promise unto Abram after that Abram had departed the land of his nativity and his father's house and had come to the land of Canaan.  God promised to Abram that he would give the land of Canaan to his descendents (seed). 

Now, we see Abram beginning his walk of faith, as he passed though the land of Canaan.  As he journeyed through the land, he no doubt, was trusting in the providential hand of God to keep him safe.  Abram had left a land where the inhabitants were almost exclusively Shemites.  No doubt, Abram had much familiarity with the customs and ways of the Shemites.  They were his people.  Now Abram is journeying in a land that consists almost exclusively of Canaanites, who were the descendants of Ham.  Not only did they have a different skin color, but also had a different language and different customs.  They probably looked suspiciously upon this Shemite journeying through their country with his family.  The natural course of fallen man is to have distrust for those who are different from us.  In the United States there are neighborhoods that I would shun to walk through because of pent up racial animosity toward the Japhethites. 

Upon hearing the additional promise of God, we find that Abram built an altar unto the LORD who had appeared unto him.  Building an altar was the form of worship authorized of God at that time.  This shows us that Abram was thankful for God's providence and blessings that were upon him and had been revealed to him.  Would to God that we would be more thankful today for the blessings of God upon us and that have been revealed to us. 

For a period of time, Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Hai.  This is a very significant place for Abram to pitch his tent.  The name, "Bethel," literally means "house of God."  In contrast, the name, "Hai," literally means "junk heap."  Thus, Abram and his family were living between the house of God and the junk heap of their fallen nature.  As children of God, we dwell in this life spiritually between the house of God and the junk heap of our sinful fallen nature.  We are faced with this scenario of dwelling in this world each day that we live on earth.  We can either spend our time going up to the house of God and worshipping and serving God or we can spend our time following after the junk heap of our sinful fallen nature.  One thing most helpful unto us as we dwell in this location is that we "build an altar of prayer unto the LORD and call upon the name of the LORD."  Abram set us a good example here. 

Gen. 12:9-13 - Abram's Doubts

Gen. 12:9 "And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south. 10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee."

Abram was faced with the same problem that we are continually faced with: he doubted God.  God had made promises to Abram that when carefully scrutinized should have been sufficient to strongly assure Abram that no harm was going to come to him. 

First, there was a famine in the land.  God had told Abram to go sojourn in the land of Canaan.  God did not tell Abram to go into Egypt to escape the famine.  One of the biggest mistakes we make is not to seek the guidance of the Lord.  We assume we can reason how to solve our problems by ourselves.  We leave God out of the solution.  Abram did this as he thought surely that by going to Egypt he would be able to sustain himself and his family in that wealthy country.  What happened here to Abram is that he doubted God could resolve his problem.  Likewise, when we try to solve our problems by ourselves, we doubt that God can resolve our problem for us.

Second, Abram doubted that God would providentially preserve him from harm, even though God had made promises to Abram that he would make of him a great nation and that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed.  If Abram had been killed, then God would not have fulfilled his promises. 

When we doubt, we end up devising schemes to help God fulfill his promises.  Abram's scheme was for Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she was Abram's sister.  While it is true that Sarai was Abram's half sister, yet it was a deliberate misrepresentation to tell the Egyptians this. 

Third, Abram knew that he was going to a land where morals were lax.  He knew they would look with lust upon his beautiful wife and would kill him if they thought that she was his wife.  Further, he was bringing his wife into a situation where she could be raped. 

All of the above shows us that Abram doubted the promises of God and doubted the power of God to protect him and his family.  Do we not do the same thing when we fail to seek God's guidance when we are faced with financial problems, or health problems, or family problems, or church problems?  Do we doubt that God can guide us or deliver us in the solution to our problems?  He has promised to be with us in the midst of our troubles and he teaches us that we are to cast our cares upon him, for he careth for us. 

The solution to the above is to trust God and his word.  We do not have to understand how God will accomplish his promises.  We just need to seek his guidance and to trust him. 

Gen. 12:14-20 Abram's Shame and God's Deliverance

Gen. 12:14 "And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had."

Abram had spoken deceitfully to the Egyptians saying that Sarai was his sister and not mentioning that she was also his wife.  Abram had done this because he feared that he would be put to death if they knew that Sarai was his wife.  Subsequently, the princes of Egypt beheld the beauty of Sarai and commended her before Pharaoh.  Then Sarai was taken into Pharaoh's house.  Beholding her, Pharaoh seemed intent on making Sarai one of his wives.  Thinking that Abram was her brother, Pharaoh heaped many and expensive gifts upon Abram.  All this set up a dilemma for Abram.  If Abram told Pharaoh that Sarai was his wife, then it would have been exposed that Abram had deceived Pharoah and had taken the gifts of Pharaoh under a deception.  According to the natural course under those circumstances, Pharaoh would probably put the stranger to death and felt justified in doing so.  If Abram said nothing, then Pharaoh would have taken Sarai for his wife.  All of this was because Abram had practiced deception. 

Because of the gifts of Pharaoh to Abram one could argue that Abram prospered from his deception.  However, as we will see later, the cattle that he received from Pharoah brought about a very serious conflict in Abram's family.  One of the maidservants that Abram received from Pharaoh ultimately brought about a conflict that is still raging in the world today.  The cattle and servants that Pharaoh gave to Abram would hardly have seemed to have merited the trouble that they caused. 

But what was Abram to do about the dilemma that he was in.  He could speak up and probably be killed or he could be silent and lose his wife.  Thankfully, God was merciful to his erring child and delivered Abram from his dilemma.  God delivered Abram and Sarai by sending forth great plagues upon Pharaoh and his house.  God also let Pharaoh know why they were being plagued.  As a result, Pharaoh rebuked Abram and deported him and Sarai out of the coast of Egypt.  Thus, Abram left Egypt in shame.  This came to pass because Abram had not sought the counsel of God and had practiced deception.  In spite of this, God sent forth his grace and mercy upon Abram and Sarai.