Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith – Sermon #3
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PATH TO EGYPT
Genesis 12:10-20 (NKJV)
Abram in Egypt
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.”
14 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
17 But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.
We have before us this evening what is probably the saddest event in the entire life of Abraham. We see him making a decision that will bring tremendous trouble into his life and into ours as well. Our text tells that during a time of famine in Canaan, Abram took his family and moved to the land of Egypt.
Now, in the Bible, Egypt is always presented to us as a picture and a type of the world. It was where the children of Israel were held in bondage to Pharaoh for 400 years. Even after they were delivered by the power of God, they still longed for what they had left behind in Egypt, Ex. 16:3. That’s just like us! Regardless of how the Lord blesses us, there is still a part of us that looks back longingly to the world we have left behind.
As we see this man make his journey into Egypt, there are some truths about the path he took to Egypt that we need to notice this evening.
Tonight, I want to preach for a few minutes about The Truth About The Path To Egypt.
I. V. 10 IT IS ALWAYS A DOWNWARD PATH
(Ill. When a believer leaves Canaan (The place of victory and blessing) to go to Egypt (The world), it always leads him down. Ill. Jonah – Jonah 1:1-5. Note: Amos described it as a low place as well, Amos 2:10; 3:1.)
A. It Led Him Down From The Land Of Promise – The land of Canaan represented God’s Best for Abram. Canaan land was where he was supposed to be! (Note: There is no place more precious than the place God wants you to be! Ill. Joseph – Gen. 50:20.)
B. It Led Him Down From The Land Of Preparation – The famine in Canaan was not a punishment for sin, rather it was a test of faith. (Contrast with Ruth chapter 1). Abraham left God’s best and ran away from God’s test. Real faith will always be tested. The great test is to submit to the test and trust God instead of running away! (Ill. The Widow of Zarephath – 1 Kings 17). Abram was to choose the uncertainty of Canaan over the abundance of Egypt.
C. It Led Him Down From The Land Of Provision – God had promised to bless Abram in Canaan, Gen. 12:2. Canaan was also the place of God’s rest for Abram. Only there could he rest in the arms of providence and trust God to take care of him. (Ill. The best place to be is where the Lord places you, even if it is difficult – Ill. Elijah – 1 Kings 17:4, 9 – “There”)
II. V. 11-15 IT IS ALWAYS A DISHONEST PATH
A. Abram Birthed A Lie – It is a sad day when a believer turns away from the truth and embrace a lie. This may be the saddest episode in Abraham’s life, and it was forever preserved in the Word of God. We can learn from his mistake! (Note: We all have those times when we birth a lie in our hearts to try and justify the things we do and allow in our lives.. It is a sad day when it happens!)
B. Abram Became The Lie – After he told the lie, he began to live the lie! One lie always leads to another! (Ill. This is clearly seen in David’s lies and actions following his adultery with Bathsheba – 2 Sam. 11.) Your lies always affect your life!
C. Abram Believed The Lie – He came to believe the lie he had fabricated more than the truth he had received from God. Verse 12 tells us that Abram was worried about something that could never happen. He could not die because God’s promise to him had not been fulfilled, Gen. 12:2-3.
(Note: This was always sin’s way, Gen. 3:1-6 – Eve sinned because she believed the devil’s lies more than she believed God. Peter fell because he believed his own lies more than he believed the Lord’s word – Mark 14:30-31.)
III. V. 15-17 IT IS ALWAYS A DISASTROUS PATH
A. Because Of The Potential – Abram’s sin had the potential to cause others to fall. Pharaoh could have taken Sarai to be his wife! (Note: When a believer goes to Egypt spiritually, it causes others to fall away or stay away. Ill. Mahatma Gandhi of India said that the reason he never became a Christian was because of the behavior of other Christians he met and knew!)
B. Because Of The Punishment – Abram’s sin brought God’s hand of judgment into the situation! (Note: Wouldn’t it be a shame to know that our sin caused a believer to stumble or a sinner to be confirmed in his decision for hell? Ill. Matt. 18:6).
C. Because Of The Profits – The Bible tells us that Abram left Egypt with more than when he entered. This is not always the case, Ill. The Prodigal – Luke 15: 11-24, but sometimes the believer will prosper in the far country. However, those things that people think are gain are really often loss! Among the servants Abram acquired while there in Egypt was an Egyptian girl named Hagar, Gen. 16:1-3. She became a problem for Abraham and Sarah and Abraham’s sin with her still has consequences in the world today. The lesson here is this, “What we think are the world’s best blessings often become life’s greatest burdens.” (Ill. Matt. 6:19-21)
IV. V. 18-20 IT IS ALWAYS A DISAPPOINTING PATH
(Ill. The world and all of its allurements or attractions can never satisfy the soul that has ever tasted of the goodness of the Lord!)
A. Because Of The Testimony It Forfeits – Abram lost his testimony in Egypt. He is even told by Pharaoh, “Take her and go!” He was literally kicked out of the world by the world! Lost people never forget a ruined testimony! They may never remember your good works, but they will never forget your failures! (Ill. What gets more air time, Peter’s preaching at Pentecost, or his denial of Christ? What about David and the Ark, or David and Bathsheba?)
B. Because Of The Things It Forgets – In Egypt, Abram had no altar, he offered no sacrifices and he lifted up no prayers. He totally left God out of all that he was doing! When in the world, the child of God lives like the world. That is a tragedy within itself! God, and all that pertains to Him are neglected and ignored! You see, no man can serve 2 (two) masters – Matt. 6:24.
C. Because Of The Tragedy It Fosters – Instead of bringing the light of the one true God into the darkness of Egypt, Abram only brought more darkness! He was not “salt and light” as he should have been! (Note: When we walk out of Canaan into Egypt, we cannot be what God has called us to be, Matt. 5:13-16! It is always a tragedy when believers leave the world worse off than it was when they found it!)
Where is your life’s tent pitched this evening?
Are you camping in Canaan (in the Promised Land), firmly fixed in the land of blessing, victory and testimony, or have you gone down to Egypt (the world)?
All it takes to get to Egypt (the world) is a little compromise here and there and before you knew it, you are miles away from the Lord. You will never prosper as long as you are not where God wants you to be! My advise is for you to come home, rebuild your altars and live for Jesus Christ like He saved you to do.