Tuesday, August 20, 2019

From Shem to Abram and God's Promises to Abraham and Sarah

God's Promises to Abraham and Sarah
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Since I've been digging deeper into Genesis and all the Bible stories I've read since childhood, genealogy records have been particularly interesting.  In the past, I've always skipped over those passages.  We are now in Genesis 11-12.  Genesis 11 traces the genealogy from Shem (one of Noah's three sons) to Abram (who will later be called Abraham).

Genealogy Chart from Shem to Abram

Geneses 11:27-32 tells us more about Terah's family line.  

Genealogy Chart of Terah's Family Line

Family lines can get a bit confusing.  No wonder I've always skipped over these parts in the past.  However, it has been particularly interesting to me as I have traced the genealogy from Adam all the way to Abram.

Chapter 11 is all about the family lines as they are represented in the two charts above.  Now we are ready to move on to God's promises to Abram in Genesis 12.

God's Promises to Abraham and Sarah

The Lord had said to Abram, “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 went, as the Lord had told him. - Genesis 12:1-4

Have you noticed a particular repeated phrase regarding Noah's response to God's instructions and Abram's response?  They both did as the Lord told them.  This should be a good example for us.  How many times have we chosen to not do as God has told us?  Perhaps we deliberately disobeyed God's instructions or perhaps we ignored them.  Then later on, we look back and realize that we should have followed the examples of Noah and Abram.  We should have done exactly as the Lord told us.

The story goes on to tell us that Abram took his wife Sarai (later to be called Sarah), his nephew Lot, all their possessions and people they had acquired, and set out from Herran to travel to the land of Canaan.  Then God gave Abram another promise.
To your offspring, I will give this Land. - Genesis 12:7 
After God's promise to give to Noah's offspring the land of Canaan, Abram built an alter to the Lord and called on His name.

Then Abram continued on toward Negev.

According to BibleRef.com, the Negev (referred to as Negeb on their website), was a dry, desert area.  It was not a good place for food or other resources.

There was a famine in the area of the Negev so Abram traveled to Egypt.  It was so severe that Abram had to live in Egypt for a while.  I took a photo of the bottom half of a map in the back of my NASB large print Bible so you can see the area we are reading about. (Genesis 12:10)

Map of the Negev Area and Egypt

As Abram traveled from the Negev into Egypt, we come to another familiar Old Testament story.  The Bible tells us that Abram knew the Egyptians would notice that Sarai was a beautiful woman.  The Egyptians were sure to realize that Sarai was Abram's wife.  Abram believed that the Egyptians would kill him, but let Sarai live so he convinced Sarai to pretend to be Abram's sister.

When Abram and Sarai arrived in Egypt, the Pharaoh's officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh.  Sarai was taken to Pharaoh's palace.  Because Sarai was beautiful and thought to be Abram's sister, Abram was treated well.  He acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

However, God inflicted Pharaoh and his household with serious diseases.  Pharoah knew something was wrong so he sent for Abram to ask him what he had done.  When Pharaoh learned that Sarai was actually Abram's wife, he knew why he and his household had been inflicted with disease for he had taken Sarai as his own wife (Genesis 12:19).  Pharaoh ordered Abram to take Sarai and go.  Pharaoh's men were ordered to see that Abram, Sarai, and all that they had went away. (Genesis 12:10-20)

Lies always get someone in trouble don't they?  It seems on the surface that Abram had a good reason for asking Sarai to lie about her relationship with him.  Under similar circumstances, we might do the same thing.  However, one lie can lead to disaster.  Because of Abram and Sarai's lie, Pharaoh took Sarai as his own wife.  He took the wife of another man as his own.  Here is where the seemingly "innocent fib" resulted in disaster.

We should remember this story as an example about how a lie, even a seemingly innocent little fib, can and probably will result in disaster either for us or for someone else.

Do you wonder if the diseases inflicted upon Pharaoh and his family were unfair?  I did at first because Pharaoh didn't know that Sarai was Abram's wife.  Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell has written an article about this over at Answers in Genesis.  She brings up a few  points that had not crossed my mind.  Also, I must have missed this point somewhere in my reading, but I didn't realize that Sarai was Abram's half sister.  Abram didn't exactly lie, but he didn't tell the whole truth either.  Another point she raises in her article is that as Abram's wife and also the mother of the nation God promised to Abram and Sarai, Abram failed to protect Sarai as he should have.  Therefore, God stepped in to intervene in their circumstances. 
Abraham was married to his half-sister, Sarai, who, at age sixty-five, was still apparently beautiful. To protect himself, Abraham persuaded Sarah to lie about her marriage to him and pretend to be his sister. Unprotected by her husband, Sarah was whisked off to Pharaoh’s harem. In exchange, Pharaoh showered Abraham with riches.  Since Abraham didn’t properly protect Sarah, who was the promised mother of a new nation that would bless the whole world, God had to step in to keep her away from Pharaoh’s bed.

God protected Sarah by sending “great plagues” on Pharaoh and his house. The Hebrew words translated as “plagues” can refer to sores or wounds and does not require them to be deadly. Sarah was kept safe and it seems Pharaoh eventually put two and two together and figured out that the timing and scope of this disease was somehow associated with Abraham’s arrival and that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Pharaoh graciously let Abraham keep all the stuff he had acquired in Egypt and summarily sent him away. - Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, Answers in Genesis.

Head over there here to read her full explanation.  It's quiet an interesting read.

Beautiful Work Coloring Bible Completed Page - Sample Pages

This post is part of my Coloring Through Genesis Series.  I'm using my Beautiful Word Coloring Bible.  I have enjoyed coloring the pages.  I've always been a tactile learner so coloring the pages help me engage with the scriptures and I spend more time in the passages.  If you think this is something you would like to do, grab a set of colored pencils and a Beautiful Word Coloring Bible. There are a few different variations of the Beautiful Word Coloring Bible.

This is the one I have.
The Beautiful Word Coloring Bible
This item is available here.

Teach the Children

As I was searching for credible online resources for you to teach the story of Abram and Sarai to your children, I came across Free Bible Images.  It's a website that allows you to download their images for teaching Bible stories.  It's awesome.  Their images fall under the Creative Commons license.  If you use them on a website or blog, you must give credit and link back to their site.

Here's a sample of what Free Bible Images offers.
God's Promises to Abraham and Sarah
Images from BibleImages.org
 They give you a snippet of the story with the slides.
As they entered Egypt Abram became worried. His wife Sarai was very beautiful. He feared that Pharaoh might kill him so he could take Sarai as his wife. So, he told Sarai to pretend she was not his wife but his sister. – Slide 14

Pharaoh’s officials told Pharaoh how beautiful Abram’s ‘sister’ was and he took her into his palace. He gave Abram cattle, donkeys servants and gifts. – Slide 15
Follow my new Abraham and Sarah Pinterest Board here for more resources for teaching the story of Abraham and Sarah to children.

If you would like to follow along with me as I journey through Biblical history in chronological order, subscribe here.  I promise to not spam your inbox.  :)

God told Abram, "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."  Learn about the story of Abraham and Sarah.
Image by Free Bible Images

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