Psalm 38:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
The Bible is clear that God expects obedience from His children. He provides the means for His child to obey Him. He created Adam without sin. Adam knew the importance of obedience. He was told not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree. There were many other trees in the Garden. However, there was only one tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was also only one tree of life in that Garden. Adam did not get confused and “accidentally” eat of the wrong tree. Adam deliberately chose to disobey God. God had warned him of the consequences of disobedience. God is just and He rightfully acted in accordance with His justice when Adam sinned. Adam did not need a second chance to try to get it right. He knew what was right and he chose to reject that.
In chapter 4 Cain knew what was required for a proper offering, but he chose to reject God’s way and determined that he would add to God’s way and modify it for his own benefit. He sinned against God. God did not accept his sin and told him to deal with it. Cain chose to react in anger to God’s rebuke and took it out on his brother Abel. Rather than confess his sin and seek God’s forgiveness, he added to his sin. God needed to deal further with Cain’s rebellion. God could have killed Cain, but He chose not to. However, there were severe consequences to Cain’s wickedness. Cain did not like the consequences, but he refused to repent and seek God’s forgiveness.
By the time we come to chapter 6, wickedness was running so rampant that God needed to bring strong judgment upon the wicked. Noah was a just man and he found grace in God’s eyes. We see from Genesis 9 that Noah was not without sin. He was a true child of God, but he made a wrong choice that led to other wrong choices from his son and grandson.
When we come to Abram, God gave him a promise as well, as we saw yesterday. Abram received the truth from someone else, possibly his father. God has always seen to it that His truth is available to man. Abram knew the LORD’s voice and he chose to listen to him in part.
We noted in chapter 12 that he was commanded to leave his homeland and his kindred and go to a new land. We see in chapter 12 that Abram chose not to obey God in most of that command. We see as well that God did not ignore Abram’s disobedience. He had a plan and His plan would be fulfilled. Abram chose to believe in God. He needed to understand the importance in believing everything that God says.
In the closing verse of Genesis 11 we read that Terah died in Haran. He had led his family out of Ur, but Abram was to separate from his family and go to the land that God had promised him.
Genesis 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.
God repeated His promise to Abram again and reminded him that the land of Canaan was for his seed. It was for Abram and his family. God was going to work with one man and his family in the plan that He had. God knows the heart of every individual. He does not keep anyone from knowing Him. All have the opportunity of knowing the true God and serving Him. However, God knows that not many will listen to Him and believe in Him. He has a calling for each of His children. Some of His children are also reluctant to follow Him faithfully and they will be chastened by Him.
Abram would face chastening from the LORD because he was a true child of God.
Genesis 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
17 And 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 that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
We read that there was a famine in the land of Canaan at this time. God had commanded Abram to leave his homeland and go to a new land. Why would God send a famine in the new land that He chose for him? God will test His child at times to strengthen him in his faith. God never makes a mistake.
Abram left Canaan due to the famine and went to Egypt. Egypt was a real place then and it still is now. It is also used by God as a picture of the world and sin. Going to Egypt was not a wise move for him. He was not prepared for what was there. He was afraid of the Egyptians. Rather than be the man he needed to be, he encouraged his wife Sarai to lie. Some might consider this a “white lie.” In God’s Word, a lie is a lie. Abram wanted to live, but what was his life without his wife? If she would have died, God would comfort Abram. However, to have her stolen from him was not good. God had already promised Abram on more than one occasion that He would make of him a great nation and that his descendants would possess the land of Canaan. Abram needed to learn to trust God.
God was gracious to both Abram and Sarai as well as to Pharaoh in this account. God protected Sarai when her husband would not. God also kept Pharaoh from committing further sin.
In verse 17 we read that God plagued Pharaoh’s house with great plagues. Pharaoh would notice that something was not right here. We learn here that Pharaoh found out that Sarai was Abram’s wife. Pharaoh called Abram and rebuked him for what he had done. Abram sheepishly admitted to what he had done and tried to justify his lie. Abram had missed a great opportunity here. Pharaoh wisely gave Abram back his wife and told him to go on his way. He also commanded his men to leave Abram and his wife alone.
God was teaching Abram an important lesson. God expects more of His children than what the world does. Morally, the world does not have very high expectations of anyone. They look for scholarly people to take certain positions. They appreciate someone who can give them some superiority over other nations. However, morality is not that important.
Abram was taught an important lesson here but he did not yet grasp the seriousness of this lesson. Abram shows us that we too are sometimes slow learners. We can be thankful that God’s standard of holiness is not diminished just because one of His children choose to disobey Him. He works on His child to bring them more in line with His holiness.
Pharaoh also learned that the God of Abram had the power to inflict pain and suffering upon him and his household. He did not choose to know the true God as his God. It would be several hundred more years before another Pharaoh would have a much greater encounter with the true God. However the nation of Egypt never did turn to God. Their leaders never desired to know the true God. They would rather send God’s people away when they could not profit from them.
Abram missed a great opportunity here to show the Pharaoh the greatness of his God. Moses would show the Pharaoh of his day the greatness of the true God. That Pharaoh would reject every witness of God and he and his armies as well as many other Egyptians perished due to their stubbornness.
Today, it is wise to listen to God. It is wise to know Him and to obey Him. When a child of God sins against God, he spoils the testimony that the world needs to see. God is never pleased with that. He will chasten every true child that He has.
If you claim to be saved, but are living in sin, you should be in fear. Is God chastening you? If He is not, you are in big trouble. You are not saved. The Bible declares that to be so. God does not accept disobedience as normal. He expects His children to identify with Him in word and in deed. He works in the heart of every one of His children to bring that about.