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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.”—Genesis 12:17 (NKJV)
Abram is one of the most important characters in Scripture. His life experiences teach us a lot when it comes to the way God deals with us, and these next few verses do exactly that.
As we read the verse above, we need to understand that Abram has just made a major mistake. He’s ventured outside the land God told him to dwell in, journeyed to Egypt, then lied about his wife (Sarai) being just his sister. Consequently, Egypt’s Pharaoh took her into his harem.
Can you imagine how pathetic Abram must have felt? “But the Lord” miraculously intervenes by sending a plague on Pharaoh before anything can happen between him and Sarai. We don’t know the exact details of this plague, but we do know Pharaoh connects it with Sarai and his intentions toward her, because he immediately rebukes Abram about it: “Pharaoh called Abram and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 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” (Genesis 12:18-19 NKJV).
We see the pagan ruler of Egypt lecturing the forefather of faith on morality . . . and he was right! Abram should have never lied about Sarai’s identity. By doing so, he put his wife, his reputation, and even Pharaoh’s well-being in jeopardy. There’s no way around it, Abram blew it. It’s a humbling thing when those who don’t have a relationship with God correct those who do about what’s right and wrong.
As low as Abram must have felt before, he must have sunk even lower at this point. And yet, we can still see God’s grace reach the valley floor of Abram’s failure: “So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had” (Genesis 12:20 NKJV).
Instead of punishing Abram, Pharaoh was moved by the Lord to release him, his wife, and all his possessions. He was free to go . . . as though his failures had never happened. The man sinned miserably, but God graciously intervened and removed his record of wrong.
Could there be a more compelling illustration of what God has done for us through the cross? Each of us was guilty of sin before God and deserved punishment for it. “But the Lord” intervened! He graciously removed our record of wrongdoing by covering it with His sacrificial blood shed on the cross. We have been released, set free from the penalty of our sin . . . and, like Abram, we have only the Lord to thank for it!
DIG: How did Abram sin and how did God respond?
DISCOVER: What does this account ultimately point to?
DO: Consider ways you can use this example in your walk with God.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.