Saturday, July 20, 2013

Abraham's Failure in Egypt - Youth Sunday School Lesson on Genesis 12:10-20

Historical Context:  This portion of our history, takes place at approximately 3'000 B.C.

Authorship: The Torah books are all attributed to the authorship of Moses, which he most probably wrote during Israel's forty-year period of wandering in the desert.  Some editorial remarks were later added to these books by priests and other divinely inspired writers, such as Joshua and Samuel.



Discussion Points:

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.

Why did Abram go to Egypt?  Because there was a famine in Canaan.  There wasn't enough food there.  What do you think Abram would have been thinking at that point?  God had told Abram to leave his family, his people, his country and go to the land that God would show him.  Abram had had faith in God to follow Him and God had brought him to Canaan.  Now there's not enough food in Canaan!  There's a famine!  Do you think Abram might have been doubting God at this point?  He was probably wondering why God had brought him to a place where there wasn't enough food.  He might have been wondering if God had been the one leading him in the first place. 

So, Abram, probably doubting God, probably not in a very good mood, decides to go down to Egypt.  There's not enough food in Canaan.  They've got to go where there's food.  There's food in Egypt so they go to Egypt.

11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."

What is Abram afraid of?  He's afraid that some Egyptian man will think Sarai's hot and want to marry her.  But since Sarai's married, for the Egyptian to marry her, he'll have to kill Abram, her husband, first.  Then, once Sarai's husband is dead, the Egyptian can force her to marry him.  So, because he is afraid of being killed, Abram tells Sarai to lie and tell everyone that they're not married.

 14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.

So what happened when they got to Egypt?  Abram was right, wasn't he?  One of the Egyptians, Pharaoh himself decided to take Sarai as one of his wives.  And now, instead of being killed, Abram was treated well and given a lot of stuff.

What do you think of the lie that Abram and Sarai told?  Did they do the right thing?  Why or why not?  Abram lied because he didn't trust God.  As soon as Abram got to Canaan, he had to leave again because of the famine, doubting God all the way to Egypt.  So because he was doubting God, he decided to take matters into his hands.  God could have protected Abram and Sarai from the Egyptians, if Abram had trusted God to do that, but instead, Abram decided to handle things without God's help by lying.  And what could have happened because of Abram and Sarai's lie?  Abram could have lost his wife, Sarai, forever, couldn't he have?

But even though Abram decided not to trust God, God was still faithful to Abram.  He didn't let Abram lose Sarai.

 17 But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!" 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

So what happened because of the lie Abram and Sarai told?  First of all, someone else suffered because of Abram and Sarai's lie.  The Egyptians were given serious diseases from God.  And why did God give the Egyptians these serious diseases?  Because of the promises that He had made to Abram.  Remember that in Genesis 12:3, God had said to Abram, " I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."  In promising to bless and curse those who blessed and cursed Abram, God was promising to protect Abram.  In sending serious diseases on the Egyptians, God was fulfilling His promise to protect Abram.

But what happened to Abram?  Pharaoh called him on his lie and kicked him out of Egypt.  So Abram didn't get away with the lie he told.  He was embarrassed, exposed as a liar, and forced to leave the land where he had come to get food.

So what is the lesson that we should learn from this story?  Trust God.  Don't take matters into your own hands because if you take matters into your own hands rather than trusting God to take care of things, you'll only make things worse.

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