Did you know that one of the Godliest men in the Bible, Abram — eventually to be known as Abraham — whored out his wife to Pharaoh? (That means he accepted money or other things of value in exchange for her “intimate favors”.)
Did Abram do it for the money, or because he lacked faith in God’s divine protection? Let’s see!
Following the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11, there’s a lot of begetting. What you really need to know about is Terah, who is descended directly from Shem, one of Noah’s ark-building sons. Terah is of the 9th generation along that line.
Terah was father to Abram, whom we now know as Abraham (but that name comes to him later). Yes, of “Abrahamic religion”. Terah was also father to Haran, father of Lot. Yes, that Lot; but that story comes later. So, Abram was uncle to Lot.
Abram found himself a wife, called Sarai. She was barren, bearing no children. (Gen. 11:30)
God told Abram to leave his country, and his kin, and go to a new land; and that God would make of Abram a great nation. He promised to bless those that blessed Abram, and curse those who cursed him. He also promised that in Abram all families of the whole world would be blessed. (Gen. 12:1-3)
That’s some pretty serious promising! I know if the Creator of the entire Universe appeared before me and said those things to me, I wouldn’t be afraid of anything! Would you?
So Abram, then 75 years old, packed up his cattle, his tents, his slaves, and all his belongings. Lot chose to do the same, and journey with him. (Gen. 12:4-5)
Abram and Lot traveled to the plain of Moreh. God appeared and told Abram that he would receive this land; Abram built an altar, then went on to a mountain between Bethel and Hai, building another altar. Still not finished traveling, Abram continued south. (Gen. 12:6-9)
That’s a lot of traveling, isn’t it? But I bet there was a reason Abram kept going . . . and here it is:
There was a great famine in those days, so Abram decided to move down into Egypt and stay there for a while. (Gen. 12:10)
God didn’t appear and tell Abram to go into Egypt. Abram decided to do this on his own, because of the famine. God had promised to make a great nation of Abram; why would he fear starvation? Did he not think the Lord would provide? What do you think?
As Abram and his company approached Egypt, he said to Sarai, “I realize that you’re a beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and they will kill me but keep you alive. So please, say that you are my sister, so everything will be well with us and they will spare my life.” (Gen. 12:11-13)
Had not God told Abram that He would bless those that blessed him, and curse those that cursed him, and make of him a great nation? How could this promise be fulfilled if Abram were killed and his wife stolen? What do you think of Abram’s faith . . . Was it strong, or was it weak? Was he a brave soldier of God, or a coward?
Before you answer, remember that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are called the “Abrahamic religions”. This is the man they’re named after!
When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians did find Sarai beautiful. The princes mentioned her to Pharaoh, and Pharaoh himself took her into his house. Pharaoh then gave Abram sheep, and oxen, and donkeys, and slaves, and camels, and much wealth in exchange for his “sister”. (Gen. 12:14-16)
That sounds an awful lot like prostitution to me. What do you think? Was Abram whoring her out for personal gain? Or was this part of God’s Plan?
God, angered by Pharaoh taking Sarai into his house to make her his wife, put a plague on Pharaoh and his family. Pharaoh, somehow finding out about Abram’s deception (the Bible doesn’t say how), called Abram to come see him and asked why Abram did this horrible thing to him. Abram offers no explanation, and Pharaoh sends him away with his wife and all the wealth Pharaoh had given him in exchange for his “sister”. (Gen. 12:17-20)
Abram lied to Pharaoh, claiming his wife was his sister because he feared that he’d be killed for his wife. He then accepted wealth in the form of livestock, slaves, and who knows what else in exchange for her. When exposed as a liar who had brought a curse upon Pharaoh and his family, he made no effort to return any of his fraudulently-obtained wealth.
In this chapter alone, God appears in person to Abram twice, promising him lands, that he will be father to a vast nation, and that he will receive divine protection. Abram twice acts as though he has no faith in such protection; he fears the famine, then he fears being killed for the sake of his wife.
If Abram, who’d had two face-to-face audiences with the Creator of the Universe, lacked faith, how realistic is it to expect you or me, who have never had a visit from the Almighty, or seen Him passing by on the street, or caught a glimpse of Him in a news video, or read a quote from Him on CNN, to trust in Him?
One video-maker has an answer to that question. He thinks it’s not realistic at all . . . and says that Christians really don’t have any more faith than Abram did. Here’s the video. What do you think?