"4 So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the [a]persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. 8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. 9 Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev." Genesis 12:4-9 (NASB)
Bible References: Genesis 12:4-9; Hebrews 11:8-9; Genesis 12:1-20
Abram went to Egypt when a famine hit the land he was living in. What happened to his testimony as the one God called to go?
Let’s briefly look at verse 8 of Genesis 12 - Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
While Abram was in relationship with God – his altar built and spending time in relationship with God he was blessed and blessed others. However Abram arrives in Egypt and decides that Pharaoh just might kill him to get Sarai. What happened to his altar?
10 When a famine struck the land, Abram went down toward Egypt to live as an immigrant since the famine was so severe in the land. 11 Just before he arrived in Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know you are a good-looking woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and they will kill me but let you live. 13 So tell them you are my sister so that they will treat me well for your sake, and I will survive because of you.”
14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw how beautiful his wife was. 15 When Pharaoh’s princes saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s household. 16 Things went well for Abram because of her: he acquired flocks, cattle, male donkeys, men servants, women servants, female donkeys, and camels. 17 Then the LORD struck Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and said, “What’s this you’ve done to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She’s my sister,’ so that I made her my wife? Now, here’s your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning Abram, and they expelled him with his wife and everything he had. (CEB)
There is no recorded “he built and altar and called on the name of the Lord”. Abram didn’t look to God to help him through the famine. In the process of his encounter with Egypt Abram lied, and ended up being deported in shame – his testimony of God lost. The consequence of no altar? No relationship time with God.
However Abram does turn around and come back to God – he is listed in Hebrews 11.
We need to:
• Build our “altar”- not a literal altar but a time every day to spend with God building our relationship with him
• Be careful who we listen to – who is whispering in your ear? Are their words positive or negative?
• Are you checking with God about what you’re hearing? Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
• Make sure we don’t go into a conspiracy with another person like Abram did with Sarai - Just before he arrived in Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know you are a good-looking woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and they will kill me but let you live. So tell them you are my sister so that they will treat me well for your sake, and I will survive because of you.”
• The ‘blessings’ Pharaoh gave Abram ended up being a big problem. Genesis 16:1-4 ”Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.” The result? Today the world still faces the problems caused by this action.
• It doesn’t take much to fall into sin.
• Lot wasn’t a good influence for Abram. Some people are all about themselves.
Build your ‘altar’ with God – spend time in prayer and the Word and live out your faith in obedience and action.