Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Famine

Genesis 12 tells the story of when Abram met God. God had a great plan for Abram--a plan to bless him beyond his wildest dreams, to give him a vast and fruitful land, to make him the father of a great nation. This what God said to him:
Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
So Abram left. Wouldn't you? What an incredible promise from God! Abram took his wife and everyone in his household and set out for Canaan. He entered the land God promised him and immediately made an altar to the Lord. Then he wandered around the land, scoping out his new home, and built a couple more altars to God.

But then he left. He walked away from the land God had promised him and went down to Egypt. Why? Because "there was a famine in the land." Not just any famine, mind you, but a "severe" one. So Abram made a practical decision to move to Egypt for a while, at least until the famine relented. I contend that it was the wrong decision.

Abram made a practical decision borne out of the physical reality of the famine. He did not make a decision based on faith borne out of God's promise to 1) give him this land, 2) make him a great nation, and 3) bless him. Abram abandoned the promise of God for the security of Egypt. He forsook God's blessing that he might enjoy the blessings of Pharaoh. Abram let a famine, not the God who had spoken to him a blessing and a promise, determine his reality.

It would be decades before Abram would learn that barrenness of land and womb are a small thing to God. Don't let a famine dictate your reality. God can bring water from a rock and food from the sky. Don't leave the land you've been promised to pursue safety in Egypt. Egypt is the land of slavery, not security. Don't let pragmatism replace faith. Don't let the famine steal your blessing or promise. God is bigger than your famine. His promise will outlast it. His blessing is greater than this trial. Persevere through faith and lay claim to God's promise and his blessing.

4 comments:

Breena said...

Interesting.

Katie said...

Did he replace his faith in God's blessing and promise with pragmatism? I don't think so. Though, going to "Egypt" is never a good place to go, because it is a place of slavery. Abraham still held to God's promise. We are here today as a result of that and God's faithfulness. Abraham is still receiving his blessing, becauase the nations are being blessed through Jesus. He didn't lose the blessing and promise, but he may have been distracted from it when he went to Eygpt.

andy said...

Katie, I'm glad you pointed that out. Abraham did still receive the blessing and promise, but through a far more circuitous route. His offspring even went down to Egypt, but stayed there for 400 years. My point was that Abraham was already in the land, but then left because of the famine. If God had promised him the land, shouldn't Abraham have trusted God to deliver him through the famine?

4thpoint said...

I love the line, "Don't let pragmatism replace faith." For many people, pragmatism is a faith. We need to pray that we'll more and more prefer God's "impracticality" over what we might think is practical. ~Stan