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God tested Abraham again and again. This time the test was through a famine in the land (Genesis 12:10). What do you do when God has told you to go to Canaan and there is a famine in Canaan? You either live by the witness of your senses or you live by what God has told you through His Spirit. There is a lovely verse that says about Jesus that ” He would not make a judgment either by what His eyes saw or His ears heard. ” (Isaiah 11:3, 4). But that is not the way man lives. If we hear about or see a famine in Canaan, we make a decision immediately, by what our eyes and ears and our clever brain tell us. We decide that Canaan is certainly not the place to be in now. We need to move on. We don’t have to consult God, because we are living by our senses! That was what Abraham did: “So Abram went down to Egypt” (12:10). Who told him to go to Egypt? Not God, but his senses! Can’t God preserve a man during a time of famine? Certainly. ” Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He will not be barren even in time of famine ” (Jeremiah 17:5-8). The man who trusts in the Lord will not move until God tells him to. That was what our Lord told Satan in the wilderness when He was tempted. Satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread. There was a famine there in the wilderness and there were no food stores around. But Jesus replied, “ Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. ” (Matthew 4:4).
But Abraham did not live like that. He decided to live by bread alone. So, since there was bread in Egypt, he went there. That is how a lot of Christian work is done today too. Most Christian workers don’t go where the Lord tells them to go. They go where they can get a good salary, where bread is available in plenty. They join organisations where there is no famine of money. “Egypt” may be a comfortable place to be in – during a famine. But the question is whether that is the place that God wants you to be in. If God has called you to be in “Canaan“, you should not move to “Egypt“. If you don’t hear what God is saying to you right now, you may do the same thing when you are tested. Live by the words that come from the mouth of God, like Jesus did. His attitude was, “Yes. Bread is necessary for life. But to obey God is more necessary for life.”
If Satan tempted even Jesus like this, don’t you think he will tempt you too – to go where there is plenty of bread? If you are in full-time Christian work and face a financial trial, Satan will tell you that you can get more money in another organization or another church and tell you to go there. May God have mercy on you at such a time that you don’t listen to Satan and thus ruin your life.
What was the result of Abraham’s going down to Egypt? He had to tell a lie there, that his wife was his sister. You can get into a lot of problems when you go to ‘Egypt’. You have to tell lies, write false reports, state things that are not 100% true, compromise your conscience etc., Sarah was about 65 or 70 years old. But she must still have been a very attractive woman, for Pharaoh the king of Egypt to want her in his harem. The sad thing is that even when Abraham saw his wife being taken into the harem to be corrupted, he still loved his own life so much, that he didn’t tell Pharaoh the truth. It is when we are in a tight spot that we discover whether we love the truth or not.
Now I want to mention something more serious. Something happened in Egypt that produced consequences for the next 4000 years. When Abraham went to Egypt and saw the rich people there having maids (female servants) in their houses, he decided to have one himself too. So he picked up a servant-woman named Hagar. When he came back from Egypt, he brought her with him. Sarah didn’t have to do all the work in the tent now. Hagar was there to help her. Later, when Sarah didn’t have any children, Hagar was there to help her with that problem too! Through Hagar came Ishmael whose seed have been in conflict with the seed of Isaac for 4000 years. But all this started with one man not listening to God once. You may say, “Well, most of the time I listen to God.” Good. But what we see here is the consequence of not listening to God just once. I hope that message will come home to us with seriousness.
Copy Right – Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore, India.
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