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“Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife.” Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.’”—Genesis 12:10-13 (NIV)
Years ago, Christian songwriter Keith Greene wrote a song called, “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt.” It was a humorous yet sobering ballad of how the Israelites wanted to go back to the worldly ways of Egypt. They believed their lives would be better in bondage than painfully obeying God and circling the desert.
In the Scriptures, Egypt symbolizes the world. It represents the opposite of God’s good will–spiritual and emotional bondage, misery, pain, and sorrow. In contrast, the Promised Land was the life of blessing lived by faith and trust, obedience and victory.
Bible commentator David Guzik says, “God called Abram to Canaan, not Egypt. Abram, like most of us, found it easier to trust God in the far-off promises that in the right-now needs.” Abram had very clearly heard the voice of the Lord and the promises of great blessing and protection.
Sadly, Abram had a lapse of faith, which led him to take matters into his own hands. He did what most of us do in times of trouble . . . trust in ourselves. He had a spiritual brain fade and made some very foolish decisions. His actions epitomized Proverbs 28:26 (NIV), which says, “Those who trust in themselves are fools . . .”
Pastor Jon Courson says, “The area in which you think you’re the strongest is the area you will be most vulnerable.” Where you know you’re weak, you rely on God. Our perceived strong areas are most dangerous.
The Scriptures tell us that God tests us to see what is in our hearts. Job 7:17-18 (ESV) says, “What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment?” Job knew God was working in his life to test him. He acknowledges the Lord in Job 23:10 (ESV): “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Like Job, God was testing Abram’s trust, and the test was a famine.
God is also testing your trust in Him. During your testing, now or one you will face sooner or later, stand up and prepare your heart. Take Paul’s encouragement in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to do “exceedingly and abundantly” beyond what we could ask or imagine. Paul was greatly comforted and strengthened when the Lord told him that His grace was sufficient for Paul, and His power was made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
DIG: When you are tested by God with a trial, what is your first response? Do you go to the Lord or lean on your own understanding?
DISCOVER: Can you recall a time when you experienced a lapse in your faith? How did you respond? Did you get back on the right path?
DO: Call out to the Lord. Admit that your faith is weak and ask for His help. Stand upon and memorize Galatians 5:16—walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.